Chapter 10: "Si Se Puede!"1Chicana/o Activism in San Diego 1965-2000
11. What was IRCA and how did it affect the Chicano Movement?
In late 1986 Congress passed, and President Carter signed, the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA).
Baca and other Chicano activists immediately criticized the legislation; like its predecessor the Simpson-Mazzoli bill, the IRCA "
legalized exploitation, racial discrimination and false promises" through its authorization of guest workers, employer sanctions, and amnesty provisions, and reflected "
a massive capitulation" of labor and liberals to the "
tremendous pressures" of the "
anti-Mexican hysteria" across the United States. Baca also alleged that Hispanic congressional representatives and advocacy organizations, which had endorsed the legislation, had "
The IRCA served as a first step toward the regularization of the status of approximately 2.5 million people; however, it left many others more vulnerable than before to abuse and exploitation.
Thus in 1987 American Friends Service Committee's (AFSC) Border Program initiated the Immigration Law Enforcement Monitoring Project (ILEMP). The project was designed to focus on the human rights of those fleeing across the U.S.-Mexico border and on the societal response to their search for security and respect. To achieve these goals the project emphasized investigation and documentation of the response. In San Diego, Roberto Martinez assumed the responsibility for these activities.
Sí, se puede" is Spanish for "
Yes, it is possible" or, roughly, "
Yes, it can be done."