Yes, It’s Amnesty
Language is very important in politics. The earliest stage of a political fight is often the fight to gain control of the terms used in the debate. Supporters of the bland sounding “Comprehensive Immigration Reform” really don’t like it when opponents call their various schemes “amnesty”. Why? No one wants to be seen as rewarding criminal behavior even when that’s EXACTLY what they are doing. So supporters of amnesty will go to great lengths and intellectual contortions to make sure no one dares use that term.
Take a look at how Marco Rubio, one of the key figures in the most recent amnesty push, phrases the argument.
We have de facto amnesty right now
No we don’t.
If we did, why are we going through this whole process in the first place? If we had de facto amnesty, we wouldn’t hear about how hard it is for illegal immigrants to live in the shadows. If we had de facto amnesty, we wouldn’t be deporting anyone. If we had de facto amnesty, there wouldn’t be a thriving black market for illicit work documents and identity theft.
Amnesty supporters will tell you it can’t be amnesty because illegal immigrants will say there are “tough but fair” penalties for illegal immigrants such as paying a fine of some sort, have to pay back taxes and “go to the back of the line” behind those waiting to come here legally for permanent residency and citizenship.
The last bit is particularly deceitful. The “back of the line” language is designed to make it sound like a real penalty is being imposed on illegals. The reality according to amnesty supporter Chuck Schumer is they would get big rewards up front with no penalties of any sort.
“On day one of our bill, the people without status who are not criminals or security risks will be able to live and work here legally.”
According to Rubio, the “penalties” will come years down the road when illegal aliens apply for green cards.
As for the path to citizenship, as Rubio explained when he rolled out his ideas a couple of weeks ago, the senators envision a temporary legal status and then the opportunity to obtain a green card, upon payment of back taxes, learn English, and a background check “among other requirements.” (Although there was no mention of Rubio’s suggestions for fines or community services is made.) The path to citizenship provisions also emphasize that none of the illegal immigrants could jump ahead of those who have legally been pursuing a green card.
In short…illegals will gain immediate legal status upon enactment of the law with no penalty until some unidentified time far off in the future. How is that not amnesty? Until we see the actual legislation, we don’t even know if illegals will have to apply for a green card or citizenship. It’s very possible whatever category of visa they get upon passage of the scheme will entitle them to stay for as long as they want.
Who is really punished by this system? People waiting to come here legally. The legal immigration system is already a mess but now we’ll be dumping upwards of 11 million new people into the system. They will all have to be processed and have background checks done to claim their new status.
How is an overworked system going to handle that new workload without A- skimping on real checks and B- adding more delays to people who are playing by the rules (pdf)?
One of the supposed penalties illegals will have to pay is to prove they have been paying taxes all along or pay taxes owed.
How will that work?
The IRS is already strained by implementing new ObamaCare regulations but now they will have to process millions and millions of new returns? Will current tax payers see delays in returns or other services? Or will the checks on this condition be cursory and incomplete at best?
And if illegal immigrants have been working and paying taxes by definition they are using fraudulently obtained documents, often committing Identity Theft.
Illegal immigrants are not “undocumented.” They have fraudulent documents such as counterfeit Social Security cards, forged drivers licenses, fake “green cards,” and phony birth certificates. Experts suggest that approximately 75 percent of working-age illegal aliens use fraudulent Social Security cards to obtain employment.
Illegal immigration and high levels of identity theft go hand-in-hand. States with the most illegal immigration also have high levels of job-related identity theft. In Arizona, 33 percent or all identity theft is job-related (as opposed to identity theft motivated simply by profit). In Texas it is 27 percent; in New Mexico, 23 percent; in Colorado, 22 percent; California, 20 percent; and in Nevada, 16 percent. Eight of the 10 states with the highest percentage of illegal aliens in their total population are among the top 10 states in identity theft (Arizona, California, Florida, Texas, Nevada, New York, Georgia, and Colorado).
Will they be prosecuted for crimes that a citizen would? Of course not. But don’t call it amnesty!
Like Obi-Wan Kenobi in the original Star Wars movie, amnesty supporters will waive their hand and say, “this isn’t amnesty” and hope the weak minded who oppose amnesty will just let them move along with their plans.
The first battle over amnesty is for the word “amnesty”. If those of us who oppose this policy lose this battle, we will undoubtedly lose the war.