● 1996 ○ The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA)* ■ classified that illegal entry and re-entry as a federal criminal offenses, making them a misdemeanor and felony respectively. It also made it so that people that hired undocumented workers would now be penalized, in the form of fines and even risking jail time. ○ Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act* ○ Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (Welfare reform) ends monetary and medical assistance for most immigrants
*increases jailing of non-violent, non-criminal immigrants and allows deportation of immigrants for minor crimes, and results in the deportation of over 200,000 people
● 1995: Proposition 187 o California voters passed prop. 187 which prohibits the providing of public educational, welfare, and health services to undocumented immigrants. This is later found unconstitutional.
Day 42: Immigration History 101 ● 1994: NAFTA and Zapatista uprising o North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) comes into effect, which is signed by Mexico, the U.S., and Canada to facilitate the trading of goods, specifically subsidize fruits and vegetables, between the three nations. o The U.S. is allowed to subsidize corn, resulting in lower sale prices and making it difficult specifically for local Mexican farmers to compete. This led to mass migration from the South to the North of Mexico, where most jobs were in maquilas (factories). o NAFTA also cancels Article 27 of the Mexican Constitution (the cornerstone of the Mexican revolution led by Emiliano Zapata in 1910-19), which protects indigenous communal land holdings from sale and privatization. o The Zapatistas (EZLN), mostly indigenous farmworkers in Chiapas, Mexico label NAFTA a “death sentence” for indigenous Mexican communities and the end of the rural farm workers of Mexico. The Zapatistas declare war on January 1, 1994 against the Mexican state. Today the Zapatistas hold ⅓ of Chiapas land.
● 1993: The U.S. government implements a blockade strategy on the U.S. Mexico border, forcing migrants to cross through the desert o By 2003, over 3000 people have died while trying to cross the border ▪ 1993: Operation Hold the Line (El Paso) ▪ 1994: Operation Gatekeeper (San Diego) ▪ 1994: Operation Safeguard (Tucson)
One phase defined: Operation Gatekeeper (San Diego) Operation Gatekeeper was a measure implemented during the Presidency of Bill Clinton by the United States Border Patrol (then a part of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS)), aimed at halting illegal immigration to the United States at the United States–Mexico border near San Diego, California. According to the INS, the goal of Gatekeeper was “to restore integrity and safety to the nation’s busiest border.”
Operation Gatekeeper was announced in Los Angeles on September 17, 1994, by U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, and was launched two weeks later on October 1.
The United States Congress allocated additional funds to the Border Patrol and other agencies. By 1997, the budget of the Immigration and Naturalization Service had doubled to 800 million dollars, the number of Border Patrol agents had nearly doubled, the amount of fencing or other barriers more than doubled, and the number of underground sensors nearly tripled.
The merits of Operation Gatekeeper were debated extensively, including during Congressional hearings. The Department of Justice, the INS, and the Border Patrol maintained that Operation Gatekeeper was a success. Some Congressmen and others sharply criticized the program and declared it a failure.
Academic Noam Chomsky has said that Operation Gatekeeper was a “militarization of the U.S.-Mexican border” and alleges it was because North American Free Trade Agreement would have increased illegal immigration into the United States; therefore, Gatekeeper was a precaution to stop future illegal immigration.Cartoon by: Bill Day, Tallahassee, FL, via caglecartoons.com
● 1990: Immigration Act of 1990 o Congress removes homosexuality as a reason to disqualify foreigners from immigrating, or even visiting, the U.S. o Grants the president the authority to grant temporary status to people from countries that are going through natural disasters or conflict.
● 1986: Immigration Reform and Control Act o Gives amnesty to approximately 3 million undocumented residents. o Also increases enforcement and makes it illegal for employers to hire undocumented workers.
Immigrant Spotlight: José Claudio Martínez-Zorilla Schnaider (24 December 1912 – 17 September 1989) was a Mexican player of American football.
A native of Guadalajara, Mexico, Martínez-Zorilla was one of three brothers to attend Cornell University and play for the Cornell Big Red football team from 1930 to 1932. He was selected by the Associated Press as a first-team end on the 1932 College Football All-America Team. He was also invited to play in the East–West Shrine Game after the 1932 season
After graduating from Cornell in 1933, he was hired as the head athletic coach of the polytechnical schools for the National Bureau of Education in Mexico City. He also played polo for Mexico’s international team and competed in fencing for both Cornell and in the Olympics for Mexico. He competed in the individual épée event at the 1936 Summer Olympics. In 1942, he trained as a flying cadet in Phoenix, Arizona.
Immigrant Spotlight: Joseph Pulitzer (1864)-from helping establish modern American journalism to creating its most prestigious prize, Joseph Pulitzer is associated with American enterprise at its scrappiest. Born in Hungary, Pulitzer was lured to the United States by American military recruiters who wanted him to fill in for a rich draftee. After serving in the Union Army, he studied English and became a newspaper reporter, rising through the ranks and eventually buying New York World. A proponent of “yellow journalism,” he competed with newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst and even served a term as U.S. Representative for New York. Before his death, he bequeathed the money that founded the Columbia School of Journalism. The prize that bears his name has been giving awards to journalists since 1917.