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What Amnesty Is… and What It Isn’t

Statue-of-Liberty-face-1Since Marco Rubio and the bi-partisan group on Immigration Reform announced their proposal, the nay sayers have been coming out of every corner. Shouts of, “It’s amnesty! It’s amnesty! It’s nothing more than amnesty!” are coming from all directions.

What’s getting in the way of coming to a realistic, workable agreement on this issue? Is it fear-mongering? Is it loathing of immigrants? Is it individual agendas? Or is it simply that many do not truly understand the meaning of the term “amnesty”?

Let’s clarify one point: President Obama and the Democrats WANT sweeping amnesty. It serves them very well. It would instantly give them a whole new voting base to indoctrinate and control. And NO Republican wants that.

So this begs the question: Does anyone really think that Senator Rubio and the Immigration Reform committee would offer a plan that is exactly what Obama and the Democrats want? The answer should be decidedly clear, especially given that Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), both on this committee, are among the most outspoken opposition to the Democrats and the President.

Maybe it’s time to revisit what amnesty really is. Black’s Law Dictionary (2009, 9th edition) defines amnesty as “a pardon extended by the government to a group or class of persons, usually for a political offense; the act of a sovereign power officially forgiving certain classes of persons who are subject to trial but have not yet been convicted”.

Taking that a step further, amnesty as applied to immigration has typically meant, not only a pardon for having been illegally present in the country, but also a relatively simple and rapid grant of citizenship with little or no penalty for the aforementioned offense.

The proposed Immigration Reform being offered by the bi-partisan group is far from amnesty. It is not a simple and relatively rapid grant of citizenship and all the benefits thereof. In addition to the keystone principle of securing the borders, this plan includes a whole laundry list of requirements which must be met to even get ON the path to citizenship, and these requirements are ongoing.

This process would ultimately take 15 years or more to complete. During this long process, not only would penalties be paid, requirements be met, and community service be done, but those on the path to citizenship who had previously been found to have been present illegally would neither receive government benefits (welfare) nor the right to vote. They would also be placed behind anyone pursuing citizenship legally, thus imposing additional penalty and further lengthening the process.

Summary: It’s not amnesty. Far from it.

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