This answer will not help you much.....but, I think it is impossible to predict today whether there will be immigration reform, though it seems like politicians are motivated to do something. But, even with a crystal ball, I don't think anyone will know the answer to your question #2 until the law actually passes.
There are many types of relief available to immigrants based on their individual situation.
There is no way to know what relief will become available in the future and what the requirements will be for that relief.
1) They either left the U.S. or are living here illegally.
2) It's impossible to know right now if there will be immigration reform that confers amnesty on a large group of immigrants, nevermind which date would be used in such a case.
www.gassonlaw.com - Disclaimer: This a general answer to your legal question. Unless you have a signed engagement letter with me, you should not consider this information to be legal advice.
There were a number of different laws that followed (you're talking about a 30-year stretch) so there were different options for different people. It's impossible to tell you what exact paths they took.
Immigration reforms in the past have all (im pretty sure) required a certain date of presence or cut-off to qualify. What, if any, reform is forthcoming is purely speculative at this juncture.
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