Old amnesty program revived for thousands

Nov. 17, 2008 at 12:19 PM
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SAN ANTONIO, Nov. 17 (UPI) -- The U.S. government says it will take applications next year from immigrants who tried and failed to qualify for the 1986 amnesty program.

As a result of a lawsuit settled this fall, a new application period will begin Feb. 1 for immigrants who were either turned away unfairly or never received an answer to their pardon application, the San Antonio Express-News reported Monday.

The newspaper says this isn't a new amnesty program but an offer of a belated pardon to those who sought legal status under the act signed by former U.S. President Ronald Reagan.

"It took 20 years but we accomplished our goal," said Robert Gibbs, a Seattle attorney who took up the legal case pro bono along with other firms and organizations.

While the government hasn't provided an estimate of how many immigrants will qualify, Gibbs says he guesses the number is around 10,000.

The application period will extend through January 2010.

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