Comparing Wage Gains from Small and Mass Scale Immigrant Legalization Programs [PDF] Author: Mukhopadhyay, Sankar. Abstract: In this paper I estimate the difference in wage gains from legalization between immigrants who were legalized on the basis of family ties, or smaller scale legalization programs, and those who were legalized in a large scale amnesty program (the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act, IRCA). Estimates suggest that the increase in wage after legalization is 11.7% higher for immigrants who were legalized on the basis of family ties, or smaller scale legalization programs, compared to IRCA beneficiaries. Further analysis suggests that supply shock restricted the wage gains of male - but not female - IRCA beneficiaries. Results also show that previously illegal immigrants receive a lower return to U.S. education, and work experience acquired as illegal workers, than the return legal immigrants receive from similar U.S. experiences.