Senator Chuck Grassley agrees with us that the Senate ‘gang of eight’ immigration reform bill is not amnesty. Listen to his comments at a town hall meeting in Iowa, where he agrees the bill isn’t amnesty:
Conflating Amnesty with Immigration Reform
Opponents of immigration reform have long labeled any solution that legalizes unauthorized immigrants as “amnesty.” They intentionally conflate “legalization” with “amnesty”, then blame the 1986 immigration reform as a “magnet” for illegal immigration.
In reality the 1986 amnesty didn’t cause illegal immigration but rather failed to address the principle root cause: the failure of Congress to follow-up on promised guest worker reforms. When our economy needs more immigrants and guest workers than arbitrary quotas allow for, a black market in immigrant labor is usually the result. Merely legalizing from time to time without addressing root causes doesn’t solve the problem. The ‘gang of eight’ bill is a big improvement over the present broken system we have, though the reforms don’t go far enough in our opinion.
Opponents of immigration reform are entitled to their own opinion about immigration reform, but not their own English language!
The ‘gang of eight’ bill isn’t “amnesty” because there are stiff penalties, something I have blogged about. The 1986 reforms didn’t include penalties for those who broke immigration laws, so it’s fair to say the 1986 bill included amnesty, though it also included other provisions such as requirements for employers to check documents for new employees, employer sanctions, etc.
Dictionaries are published for a reason, to ensure there are commonly understood definitions. Opponents who persist in labeling the ‘gange of eight’ bill apparently never consulted a dictionary or are willfully ignorant about definitions. From Websters:
Amnesty: the act of an authority (as a government) by which pardon is granted to a large group of individuals
Pardon: the excusing of an offense without exacting a penalty
Penalty: the suffering in person, rights, or property that is annexed by law or judicial decision to the commission of a crime or public offense
Thousands of dollars in fines, and a ten year bar on even applying for permanent resident status are penalties. Therefore the bill is not “amnesty.”
Bob Quasius is the founder and president of Cafe Con Leche Republicans