What is Amnesty in Immigration - Attorney Carlos Gamino

By Attorney Carlos Gamino

Many people immigrating to the United States come under humanitarian programs, such as asylum, temporary protected status, or as a victim of human trafficking or other crimes. However, amnesty is a little different.

Amnesty is defined as a governmental pardon for violating immigration policies. It includes the federal government forgiving people for using false documentation (like Social Security numbers, ID cards or driver’s licenses) to get a job in the U.S. and to continue to remain in the country. It allows undocumented aliens to gain permanent residency in the U.S.

What Are the Chances of Getting Amnesty?

There are currently between 10 million and 12 million – maybe more, maybe fewer – undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. right now.

However, the last time a U.S. president covered amnesty was in 1986, when then-president Ronald Reagan signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act. The legislation’s sponsor, Sen. Alan Simpson, R-Wyo., wrote to Reagan: “The work to be done is to avoid seeing this nation populated with a furtive illegal subclass of human beings who are afraid to go to the cops, afraid to go to a hospital … or afraid to go to their employer.”

When Reagan signed the act, he said, “The legalization provisions in this Act will go far to improve the lives of a class of individuals who now must hide in the shadows, without access to many of the benefits of a free and open society. Very soon many of these men and women will be able to step into the sunlight and ultimately, if they choose, they may become Americans.”

The legislation was tremendously successful, but today, with all the political polarization surrounding immigration – and particularly undocumented immigrants – it’s not the same.

Often, Milwaukee immigration attorneys don’t have any means to help undocumented immigrants. While there are some options, such as applying for asylum or asking to be part of another humanitarian program, the legal avenues just aren’t there.

Do You Need Legal Advice on Immigration?

If you want to immigrate to the U.S., you could benefit from talking to a Milwaukee immigration attorney. We may be able to help you follow the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ paths for immigration. Call us at 414-383-6700 today.

Attorney Carlos Gamino