The use of legalization or regularization as an immigration policy tool differs significantly between European nations. In particular, there is a pronounced divide in regularization trends between northern and southern European countries. Regularization programs in the north typically cover discrete populations, whereas programs in the south have been more broadly applicable. In the United States, more individuals have been legalized through population-specific programs than through generalized programs. Ever since the United States adopted its first quota system in the 1920s, Congress has regularly found it necessary to legalize discrete groups with strong equitable and humanitarian claims to remain.
To read the full article:
Donald M. Kerwin, Kate Brick, and Rebecca Kilberg, “Unauthorized Immigrants in the United States and Europe: The Use of Legalization/Regularization as a Policy Tool,” Migration Policy Institute (Posted May 2012)