TN 36 (09-99)

SI 00501.440 Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986

A. Introduction

The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) (Public Law 99-603) amended and repealed sections of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The IRCA provides for the legalization of illegal aliens who meet certain requirements and updates the registry date which allows INS to process certain illegal aliens differently. (See SI 00501.420 and SI 00501.425 for instructions on the entry date and PRUCOL based on continuous residence.)

A provision of the IRCA precludes legalized aliens from eligibility for Federal programs of financial assistance for 5 years. One exception to this prohibition is assistance provided to an aged, blind or disabled individual, as defined by the SSI statute. Thus, there is no restriction on a legalized alien's filing for SSI (including State supplementary payments) and receiving benefits, including Medicaid based on SSI payments, if eligible.

Public Law 100-204, section 902, provided that nationals of certain countries which were provided or allowed to continue in extended voluntary departure (EVD) during the 5-year period ending November 1, 1987 and who have continuously resided in the U.S. since before July 21, 1984 were eligible to apply for lawful temporary resident (LTR) status under IRCA. Aliens granted LTR status may apply for lawfully admitted permanent resident (LAPR) status within the 1-year period beginning with the nineteenth month that begins after the date LTR status is granted.

B. Definitions

1. Legalization

The process of adjusting the status of certain aliens to that of lawful temporary residents.

2. Designated organizations

Those agencies designated by the Attorney General as authorized to screen applicants for adjustment of status and to accept applications for that status.

3. Lawful temporary resident (LTR)

The status that may be granted an illegal alien who has applied for adjustment of status on May 5, 1987 or later, a special agricultural worker who has applied for adjustment of status June 1, 1987 or later, or certain aliens on extended voluntary departure status who applied for adjustment of status in the 24-month period beginning December 22, 1987.

4. Special agricultural worker (SAW)

An alien who resided in the U.S. and performed seasonal agricultural services in the U.S. for at least 90 days during the 12-month period ending May 1, 1986. When these aliens are granted LTR status, they are considered LAPR's for all purposes (including SSI), except under provisions of the immigration laws.

5. Additional agricultural workers

An alien who, beginning in fiscal year 1990, has been admitted to the U.S. as an LTR to meet a shortage of workers to perform seasonal agricultural services during the year. These aliens are considered to be LAPR's for SSI purposes.

6. Registry date

The date before which an alien must establish entry into the U.S. in order for INS to establish a record of LAPR under section 249 of the INA (currently January 1, 1972). The INA provision applies only to aliens for whom INS records of permanent admission are not available.

C. Background

1. Section 201 — legalization of status

  1. Provides for the adjustment of status of illegal aliens to LTR if they:

    • Have entered the U.S. before January 1, 1982;

    • Have continuously resided in the U.S. unlawfully since that date;

    • Applied for adjustment of status during the 12-month period beginning on May 5, 1987; and

    • Meet admissibility criteria.

  2. Provides for the subsequent adjustment of an alien in LTR status to that of an alien LAPR if they:

    • Apply for adjustment of status during the 1-year period beginning on the nineteenth month after LTR status was granted;

    • Have continuously resided in the U.S. since LTR status was granted;

    • Are admissible as an immigrant; and

    • Demonstrate basic citizenship skills.

  3. Provides for applications to be filed with:

    • The Attorney General (local INS offices); or

    • Designated organizations (volunteer organizations).

  4. Provides that during the 5-year period beginning on the date LTR status is granted, LTR's are ineligible for any Federal program of financial assistance.

  5. Provides that the definition of Federal financial assistance does not include SSI. (LTR's are not precluded from filing for SSI.)

2. Section 202 — cuban - haitian adjustment

  1. Provides for the adjustment to LAPR status of Cuban/Haitian entrants or Cuban or Haitian nationals who:

    • Apply for adjustment of status within 2 years of enactment;

    • Are otherwise eligible for immigrant visas;

    • Are physically present in the U.S. on the date the application for adjustment is filed; and

    • Have continuously resided in the U.S. since January 1, 1982.

  2. Provides that the adjustment of status of Cuban/Haitian entrants will have no effect on benefits received as a result of their entrant status.

3. Section 203 — registry date update

Updates the registry date from June 30, 1948 to January 1, 1972 effective November 6, 1986.

4. Section 302 — permanent residence for certain special agricultural workers

  1. Provides for the adjustment of status of special agricultural workers (SAW's) to LTR status if they:

    • Apply for LTR status during the 18-month period beginning on June 1, 1987;

    • Resided in the U.S.;

    • Performed seasonal agricultural services in the U.S. for at least 90 days during the 12-month period ending on May 1, 1986; and

    • Are admissible as an immigrant.

  2. Provides for the adjustment of status of SAW's from LTR to LAPR when certain conditions are met.

  3. Provides that SAW's in LTR status are to be considered as LAPR's.

5. Section 303 — admission of additional special agricultural workers

  1. Provides that, beginning fiscal year 1990 and ending fiscal year 1993, a specified number (if any) of additional aliens (as determined by the Secretaries of Labor and Agriculture) may be admitted to the U.S. in LTR status to meet a shortage of workers to perform seasonal agricultural services.

  2. Provides that at the end of a 3-year period beginning on the date LTR status was granted, the aliens' status to be adjusted to that of an LAPR.

  3. Provides that such aliens in LTR status are to be considered LAPR's for all purposes.

D. Policy principles

1. Prucol based on LTR

Aliens granted LTR status under IRCA can meet the PRUCOL criteria discussed in SI 00501.420 and, therefore, may be eligible for SSI.

2. Agricultural workers

SAW's and, beginning fiscal year 1990, the additional agricultural workers are subject to the SSI rules governing LAPR's during the period they have LTR status. (See GN 00303.440.)

E. Related policy

Aliens who are considered to be LAPR's as well as those who have been granted that status may be subject to sponsor-to-alien deeming if the criteria are met.

F. Operating policy

Development of alien status resulting from the IRCA is the same as for other categories of aliens who are PRUCOL (SI 00501.420), i.e., the alien's status must be verified with INS and the developmental tolerances in SI 00501.430 will apply. The specific differences are indicated below.

1. Application for legalization not filed

  1. Any illegal alien who has not filed an application for legalization is subject to the same development as required in SI 00501.430. The current status of such aliens must be verified with INS.

  2. Aliens apprehended prior to May 5, 1987 may receive an I-94 with a finger print and coded W for LTR's and S for SAW's at the end of the departure number.

2. Application for legalization pending

  1. An alien who has filed an application for legalization and is waiting for an INS determination may have an I-688A.

  2. Such aliens are subject to routine PRUCOL rules applicable to all applicants for an alien status. The application for legalization does not establish PRUCOL. However, the alien will be PRUCOL if they are living in the U.S. with the knowledge and permission of INS and INS does not contemplate enforcing the alien's departure.

3. During LTR status

  1. Do not delay adjudication of a claim pending verification of the alien's status if documentation is presented that LTR status has been granted (I-688). Verify status with INS postadjudicatively (see SI 00501.430A).

  2. Code the AR field with an R for LTR's and a Y for SAWs. See SM 01005.630.

4. After 18 months of LTR status/preapplication for LAPR status

Any alien who presents documentation of LTR status that has expired and has no evidence of having filed for LAPR status will be subject to the rules in SI 00501.430B.

5. Application for LAPR status

Any alien who presents evidence of having filed for LAPR status will be subject to the rules regarding applicants in SI 00501.420B.

6. LAPR status

  1. Any alien who presents evidence of having been granted LAPR status will be subject to the SSI rules in GN 00303.420 and GN 00303.440.

  2. Once an LTR has been granted LAPR status, code the AR fields.


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SI 00501.440 - Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 - 01/07/2013
Batch run: 01/07/2013
Rev:01/07/2013