American with disabilities struggled to fit into society before the 1990s. Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act. Of 1973, banned any discrimination toward any person because of race, ethnicity, and/or sexual based, but it didn’t specifically speak for Americans with disabilities in particular (Mayerson, 1992). It wasn’t until almost 17 years later that the American Disabilities Act (or ADA) became a law in 1990 (Thompson, 2015). This Act marked one of the first civil rights laws that addressed the needs of people in American with disabilities.
According to Thompson, author for the JAMA Network, more that 50 million Americans with disabilities in American that are protected under this law (Thompson, 2015). The ADA prohibits discrimination in all areas of like that pertain to public such as employment, education, transportation needs and any area that is open to the general public. The ADA recognizes a disability defined as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits 1 or more major life activities, such as walking, talking, and caring for oneself independently. This law was put into place to protect people with any of these types of impairments and give them resources for quality of life.
Before the ADA became a law, people that had disabilities throughout American were being excluded and segregated from their communities. Unfortunately, the mentality for people with disabilities was that they should be institutionalized or taken out of general public. It took several people throughout time to achieve this law to protect the disabled in America. With this law, Americans with disabilities were given resources such as handy-cap parking close to public buildings and other accessibility standards, equal medical care, community service aids and employment. The ADA enables people with disabilities to live their lives with pursuit of happiness and activity without the barriers of being shunned by their communities and government.
Immigration Reform Control Act (or IRCA) of 1986 became a law in order to reduce financial burden of providing public assistance, including health care, and educational services to non-citizens in the United States. This act was also referred to as the 1986 Amnesty Act. This act made it illegal for employers to hire any person that was determined as an illegal or unauthorized immigrant. Before this law was initiated, several unauthorized immigrants were able to apply and accept legal status in the United States. Anyone that had done this before 1986 was granted amnesty, hence the name, and were allowed to stay if they had obtained documentation prior to the 1986 IRCA. Under IRCA, eligible legalized aliens may apply for permanent residency within a 1-year period after they are first eligible (Kusserow, 1990, p. 1).
This act promotes assistance for people under this act be assisted with State public assistance just like any other person, with the understanding that no new programs be initiated specifically for this minority. The State may create or initiate any program to promote educational needs for eligible legalized people. Practices much like this were seen as good practice. The government conceded in organizing four categories of good practice to augment implementation of these programs and procedures under the IRCA.
These four categories include guidelines for administration, systems to identify eligible legalized aliens, controls for distribution of funds, and innovated approaches to education (Kusserow, 1990). Identifying eligible legalized aliens consists of a working group for resolving issues, making sure that general services are available, and keeping accurate reporting systems while keeping a contact point that is of neutral party (Kusserow, 1990). Systems to identify eligible legalized aliens defines the use of identification numbers given to verify eligibility. Recording keeping data of ensure that people under this act have communication resources when needed. Keeping controls of distribution of funds enforces a financial threshold for eligible legalized aliens during a certain period of time, while having an automated system of disbursement of funds to each eligible person, and keeping effective communication between State agencies and operating agencies (Kusserow, 1990). Lastly, education is seen as an opportunity for these minority people to become educated, lawful permanent citizens (Kusserow, 1990). Programs designed to continue education and to provide opportunities for these individuals were put in place in attempt to help facilitate employment chances and educational chances.
People rally for minorities such as Americans with disabilities and immigration reform to help achieve a better life for everyone. The importance of the laws may not seem to affect us all but they do. The United States is often referred to as the land of the free. It is this way because of people that are passion about causes such as these and are willing to fight for them to be seen under the government’s eye. Because of these people that refused to be silenced, protective laws have been put in place for both.