OK, “Comprehensive Immigration Reform” Is Not Amnesty—It`s Worse Than Amnesty

Advocates of
“Comprehensive
Immigration Reform”


a.k.a. amnesty
have been driven underground by the

great surge in public support
for

Arizona`s SB 1070
. But they`ll be back. And the
possibility that President Obama will be with them can`t
be ruled out—after all, everything else he`s ever wanted
in his life has been

handed to him on a silver platter.

In his essay “Politics
and the English Language
,”
George

Orwell
wrote,
“one ought to recognize that the present political chaos
is connected with the decay of language, and that one
can probably bring about some improvement by starting at
the verbal end.”
There will be a lot of debate over
whether or not the various
“comprehensive” bills put forth can be classified as an
“amnesty”. So
I`d like to consider here the

precise meaning of the word.

Merriam Webster

defines
amnesty as
“the act of an
authority (as a government) by which pardon is granted
to a large group of individuals.”

Initially, immigration enthusiast
politicians had no problem using the word amnesty. 
During the

2004
Democratic primaries,

John Kerry
said,


"I supported and
was prepared to vote for amnesty from

1986
. And it is essential to have immigration
reform. Anyone who has been in this country for five or
six years, who`s paid their taxes, who has stayed out of
trouble, ought to be able to translate into an American
citizenship immediately, not waiting." [
Kerry
on the Record
:
Amnesty is OK
, By Dave Eberhart,
Newsmax, March
4, 2004]

But, as it became clear that the
American people were dead set against amnesty,
pro-amnesty politicians

began using different words
such
as “earned
legalization,” “path to citizenship,”
and
“comprehensive
immigration reform.”

This is especially crucial to the regrettably large
number of pseudo-conservatives. They know their
constituency—and donor base—is especially against
rewarding lawbreakers. 

Thus recently a group of conservative evangelical
leaders including former Ohio Secretary of State Ken
Blackwell, Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel and Dean of
Liberty University Law School, and Richard Land of the
Southern Baptist Convention released a statement

on “Just Assimilation Immigration Policy”
.

They claimed the answer to illegal immigration “
is
neither
amnesty
nor

mass deportation,”
but rather a path to
“pursuing earned
legal citizenship or legal residency”
unless they
are “undocumented felons.” 
(I. E. guilty of crimes
in addition to

illegal entry
.)



The evangelical leaders then condemned those who use the
word amnesty, stating



Let us be clear – an earned pathway to citizenship is not amnesty. We
reject amnesty. And we ask those who label an earned
pathway to citizenship as amnesty to stop politicizing
this debate needlessly and to honestly acknowledge the
difference
.” [Evangelical
Leaders Unite on Just Assimilation Immigration Policy
,

Liberty Counsel, May 11, 2010]

Strangely, they do not explain exactly what amnesty
is, if it`s not a
“path to citizenship”
. 

But others have given a bit more
detail. 
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham claims that amnesty
means “forgiving
people, with no consequence,”
while they will
require the illegal aliens to jump through a few hoops.
[Political
Players: Sen. Graham Sees A "Schizophrenic" State of the
Union
,
Brian Goldsmith,
The Atlantic,
January 29, 2010]

Alex DiBranco, an editor at
change.org sums up this argument:

“Amnesty would just say hey, undocumented immigrants currently living in
the United States, you can all just keep hanging out, no
fines, no background checks, no six years of conditions
to be met before you can even become a permanent
resident. The current and expected proposals in Congress
are far from offering that…

“CIR ASAP [the 2009 Gutierrez immigration bill] would require undocumented immigrants that have contributed to the U.S.
(through work, studying, and/or

military
or

community service
) to pay a fine and undergo a
background check that shows up clean, with no serious
convictions, in order to obtain a conditional legal
residence. They would then have to wait a full six years
before applying for a green card, during which time they
need to demonstrate that they have continued to
contribute to the U.S., chipped in with taxes, kept
crime-free, learned English, and met certain civic
requirements.”
 [Senator
Graham: No, Comprehensive Immigration Reform Is Not
Amnesty
, Alex DiBranco, Change.org, February 1,
2010]

Here I will agree with Dibranco:
OK, “comprehensive immigration reform” is technically not an amnesty:
It`s much worse
than amnesty.

Amnesties pardon illegal behavior,
but they do not
legalize
that behavior. 
When the IRS offers a tax amnesty, they allow
delinquent taxpayers to pay the money they owe without
any penalties, but people
still need to
pay their back taxes.

 Similarly,
libraries allow patrons to return their overdue books
without a fine. But they still need to return the books.

When

Jimmy Carter issued an amnesty
to

Vietnam draft dodgers
, the draft had been over for
several years. 
The equivalent to
“comprehensive
immigration reform”
for draft dodgers would have
been if Carter had allowed them to return and not be
subject for the draft, while law abiding citizens were
still being drafted and sent to war.

The open borders lobby repeatedly
creates a false choice between granting legal status to
illegal aliens or

mass deportations.

Yet from a legal perspective, a
deportation is not a punishment. 
It is an

administrative procedure
. 
Every second an illegal alien is in this country
they are guilty of

unlawful
presence
under the Illegal Immigration Reform
and Immigrant Responsibility Act and are here in the


improper time
or place

under the Immigration and Nationality Act. 

The former bars an alien from
legally immigrating to this country for 3 years if they
have been here illegally for 180 days or less, and 10
years if they have been here longer. 
The latter imposes criminal and civil penalties
including fines and imprisonment of up to 6 months for
the first offense and 2 years for subsequent offenses.

An amnesty properly defined, would
still require illegal aliens to leave the country, but
waive the criminal penalties.

In fact, the Main Stream Media has
had no problem accepting an amnesty as such in foreign
countries.   w:st="on">Malaysia was swamped by illegal
aliens, with estimates ranging from 600,000 to over a
million.  In
2004, the Malaysian government issued an amnesty of
sorts: illegals had 3 months to leave—later extended due
to the Tsunami—or else they`d be
caned. 

Reuters reported:

“Malaysia has
given illegal immigrants one last chance to leave
without punishment, an immigration official said on
Wednesday, after an appeal from poorer neighbor
Indonesia, the home of most of the immigrants.

“Malaysia wants
to send home up to a million illegal immigrants, mostly
Indonesians working in poorly paid jobs, despite fears
many businesses might be crippled by the withdrawal of
cheap labor.

“The crackdown
would go ahead but each illegal immigrant caught in a
national swoop would get a final chance to quit the
country, said Ishak Mohamed, director of enforcement in
the immigration department, who leads operations against
illegal immigrants.

“`The operation
is in a `soft` phase right now,` he told Reuters. `The
approach will be different. Rather than arrest the
illegal immigrants, we will advise them to return to
their countries of origin and apply for documents from
there.`

“Immigration
authorities checked 1,497 workers in their first soft
operation on Tuesday night, Ishak added, and found that
about seven percent had no valid documents at all.

“Facing the
threat of jail, fines and, for men under 50, a whipping,
nearly 400,000 illegal immigrants left Malaysia under an
amnesty during the last three months, Ishak said.”
[Malaysia
dons velvet glove in immigrant crackdown
,

Clarence Fernandez, Reuters, February 2, 2005]

(Note
that, in addition to providing a crystal clear example
of a properly-defined
“amnesty”, Malaysia`s policies show that illegal aliens will go home
on their own if the government gets tough.) 

All this
being said, I am happy to call the policies of Gutierrez
and Graham and the

Southern Baptist Convention
an amnesty. 
Americans understand amnesty to mean something
that allows the illegal alien population in this country
to stay here legally. 
Attempts to use the words
“comprehensive
immigration reform”
or any other euphemism are
designed to hide the actual policies rather than the
technical English definition of amnesty.

With all due respect to Orwell, we
can`t “bring
about some improvement by starting at the verbal end”

in a Spanish-speaking
country
. 

"Washington Watcher" [email
him
] is an anonymous source Inside The
Beltway.