In 1994, Bill Clinton made an adjustment to the Immigration and Nationality Act. Its specific purpose was to change the status of those residing in the United States illegally. Prior to October 1994, only legal non-residents were permitted to avail themselves of a status modification, and only if a visa became available. Clinton’s “adjustment” changed all that.
Now, illegals had the practice extended to them . . . without requiring them to leave the country and wait for visa approval. It also required each applicant to pay a $1,000 fee. The law also included those who had entered the United States but committed visa violations during their stay. A provision that later benefited Tamerlan Tsarnaev of recent Boston Marathon bombing infamy.
In 1997, Clinton’s Congress passed NACARA, the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act, which granted legal status to people from Guatemala, El Salvador, Cuba, Nicaragua, and nationals of the former Soviet bloc. This law also provided some protection from deportation. Castro emptied the Cuban prisons into America on the strength of NACARA.
Not satisfied with his previous fine tuning, in December 2000 Clinton signed the Legal Immigration Family Equity (LIFE) Act which allowed those in the United States illegally to apply for and receive a green card even if they wouldn’t normally be eligible to receive one. Regardless of how the individual had entered the country, whether working illegally in the country or if the individual failed to “maintain lawful status” since his/her arrival in the United States, legitimacy was now assured.