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This isn't the first immigration reform proposal

By Rosa Duarte, Reporter, RDuarte@wfmz.com
Published On: Jan 29 2013 06:00:00 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 30 2013 05:44:22 AM CST

This isn't the first immigration reform proposal

It looks like an overhaul of the U.S. immigration system could soon be in the works.

President Obama outlined his proposal to fix what he called an "out-of-date and badly broken" system Tuesday while visiting a majority Hispanic high school in Las Vegas, Nevada.

In his speech, the president echoed many of the same principles laid out by a bipartisan group of senators on Monday.

"Smarter enforcement, a pathway to earn citizenship, improvements in the legal immigration system so we continue to be a magnet for the best and the brightest all around the world," Obama said.

However, this isn't the first time the federal government has introduced such a proposal.

In 1986, President Ronald Reagan signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act, granting amnesty to close to three million illegal immigrants.

In it, lawmakers established employer sanctions, making it illegal to hire undocumented workers, introduced measures to increase enforcement of the immigration laws as well as grant legalization to those who met certain requirements.

In a written statement on signing the act, President Reagan said "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."

Very similar to what Obama said Tuesday close to 30 years later, "It wont' be a quick process but it will be a fair process and it will lift these individuals out of the shadows and give them a chance to earn their way to a green card and eventually to citizenship"

Critics say the provisions in the Immigration Reform and Control Act passed close to 30 years ago were never enforced and led to the problem of 11 million illegal immigrants today.

A comprehensive immigration reform act was also introduced in 2007 under President George W. Bush; however that bill failed to get the necessary votes in the Senate.