Immigration Reform Could Reach Standstill With Amnesty Debate

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Immigrant Jose Garrido carries his five-year-old son, Justin, as they join a march during a May Day rally in downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday, May 1, 2013. In celebration of May Day, people have gathered across the country to rally for various topics including immigration reform. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes) | AP

In 1986, lawmakers decided the problem of illegal immigration had to be dealt with. More than 3 million people were living in the United States after crossing the border illegally or overstaying their visas.

A new law signed by President Ronald Reagan gave legal status and a path to citizenship to most of those unauthorized residents — helping many secure a slice of the American dream but also giving fuel to critics who sought to turn "amnesty" into a pejorative.

Less than 30 years later, the number of immigrants living in the country illegally is thought to have nearly quadrupled, and the freighted baggage of amnesty looms over new efforts to reform the nation's immigration laws.

Read the whole story at Los Angeles Times