One of the big problems with the IRCA amnesty was all the counterfeit applications, especially from seasonal agricultural workers. Economists Pia Orrenius and Madeline Zavodny studied the effects of amnesty programs on undocumented immigration and presented their findings in the August 2003 issue of Demography magazine.[PDF] They say that the number of seasonal workers qualifying for amnesty was about 300,000. But in the end, more than 1 million applications were granted. "Most people agree that there was substantial fraud because the document requirement and the residency requirement were quite low for that part of the program," Ms. Zavodny says.
"I don't think anyone says that it deterred illegal immigration," says Cecilia Mu?oz, vice president of The National Council of La Raza, the nation's largest Latino advocacy group. "But it succeeded in legalizing 3 million people. Their wages went up, and they're fully integrated into American society."
[After the Amnesty: 20 years later, By Luis Andres Henao , The Christian Science Monitor, November 6, 2006]
UPDATE: I had originally written "Thirty Years." This is a basic mathematical error. It turns out that 2006-1986=20. I knew that!