The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate with respect to hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee, based upon an individual's citizenship or immigration status. The law prohibits employers from hiring only U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents unless required to do so by law, regulation or government contract.
Employers may not refuse to accept lawful documentation that establishes the employment eligibility of an employee, or demand additional documentation beyond what is legally required, when verifying employment eligibility (i.e., completing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Form I-9), based on the employee's national origin or citizenship status. It is the employee's choice which of the acceptable Form I-9 documents to show to verify employment eligibility.
IRCA also prohibits retaliation against individuals for asserting their rights under the Act, or for filing a charge or assisting in an investigation or proceeding under IRCA.
IRCA's nondiscrimination requirements are enforced by the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division's Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER).
IRCA generally makes employment of unauthorized aliens unlawful (8 U.S.C. §1324a), while prohibiting discrimination in employment based on national origin or citizenship status (8 U.S.C. §1324b).