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(CNN) -- Some key dates surrounding the immigration issue:
1790-1900: The nation's first immigration laws are enacted, many of which, like the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, were designed to exclude or limit immigration based on race or national origin.
October 3, 1965: President Lyndon Johnson signs legislation abolishing the existing immigration quota system and eliminating national origin, race, or ancestry as a basis for immigration to the United States
November 6, 1986: President Ronald Reagan signs the Simpson-Mazzoli Immigration Reform and Control Act, imposing sanctions on employers who hire illegal immigrants and offering amnesty for some illegal immigrants.
November 8, 1994: California passes Proposition 187, barring illegal immigrants from receiving certain state benefits. Much of the law is later struck down by the courts.
September 30, 1996: President Bill Clinton signs the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, enhancing border security measures and enacting new eligibility requirements for public benefits.
March 1, 2003: The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service is moved into the Department of Homeland Security and renamed the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
April 1, 2006: A private group called The Minutemen sends thousands of volunteers to patrol the U.S.-Mexico border for 30 days. President Bush has called the group "vigilantes."
April 10, 2006: Hundreds of thousands of pro-immigration protesters participate in a "National Day of Action for Immigrant Justice," holding rallies nationwide, including Washington, D.C., and Phoenix, Arizona.
May 15, 2006: President Bush announces that 6,000 National Guard members will be deployed to the Mexican border to assist the Border Patrol.
June 1, 2006: California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announces he will "reluctantly" agree to send 1,000 National Guard members to assist with border patrol operations, as part of President Bush's plan.
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