That law, signed by President Ronald Reagan, also promised to grant legal status to illegal immigrants, secure the borders and beef up worker verification protections. But the enforcement protections were largely unmet, and millions more illegal immigrants flooded into the United States.
“In the minds of many, Mr. Chairman, the country got amnesty, but we’re still waiting 25 years later on the border security and employment verification,” Gowdy said. “So here we are back again asking our fellow citizens to trust us.”
Obama, who’s said he’d like to see immigration legislation passed by June , met Tuesday with immigrant advocates and labor leaders _ including the AFL-CIO, the NAACP and the National Council of La Raza _ for about an hour at the White House. Attendees declined to release details of their conversations, but they described them as productive.
“We were very clear with the president that what we are demanding is a road to citizenship that is clear, that is direct and that is not contingent at all on additional enforcement, whether it’s border security or additional types of enforcement,” said Marielena Hincapié, the executive director of the National Immigration Law Center.
Inside the crowded House hearing room, a group of young immigrants disrupted the hearing by jumping up with signs and chanting, “Undocumented and unafraid.”
Leticia Tudon, 21, of Dallas told McClatchy that it’s important for members of Congress to hear from the students.
“If we want our point to be heard, we have to speak out,” she said.
The Senate will hold its first hearing on immigration Feb. 13.
Anita Kumar contributed to this article.