IRCA is the acronym for Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. IRCA is public
law (P.L. 99-603) that amended and repealed certain sections of the INA. IRCA allows
DHS to process certain illegal aliens differently. Under IRCA the following aliens
could apply for lawful temporary resident status:
Certain aliens who entered the U.S. illegally before January 1, 1982 and who remained
in the U.S. since that date, and who applied for lawful alien status by May 4, 1988;
Certain special agricultural workers (SAWs) who worked illegally in the U.S. in qualifying
periods of time who applied by November 30, 1988.
Also under IRCA, an alien who has resided in the U.S. for a period of 18 months after
being granted lawful temporary resident status may apply for permanent resident status
during the 12 month period beginning the day after the required 18 months temporary
resident status has been completed. If approved, the alien's status is adjusted to
permanent resident as of the date on the application fee receipt issued by DHS.
Public Law 100-204, the Department of State Authorization Bill, provided that nationals
of Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Poland, and Uganda could apply for lawful temporary resident
status under IRCA if:
They resided in the U.S. continuously since prior to July 21, 1984; and
They applied for such status between March 21, 1988 and December 22, 1989.
The legalization program ended on September 30, 1991. Most legalization applications
had been processed and qualified aliens issued Form I-688 (obsolete Temporary Resident
Card). For a period of time, DHS continued issuing I-688A to class members of two
RM 10210.815, for more information about the I-688A.