Lee P Butler

Its Amnesty Only If We Say Its Amnesty

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June 28, 2006

It’s Amnesty Only If We Say It’s Amnesty

Lee P. Butler

“This is the toughest part of the bill for the Congress,” President Bush recently said, referring to House Republicans’ problems with the part of the Senate bill that would give illegal aliens the chance to become American citizens.

“While the differences grab the headlines, the similarities in approaches are striking. We all agree we need to control our borders. There’s a common agreement that the federal government has a responsibility to control the borders so that every illegal immigrant caught at the border needs to be sent home.”

So why is that so hard to compromise on? The President is clearly making border security the number one priority in the illegal immigration debate and wants to balance out the issue by finalizing a comprehensive method of creating a legal guest worker program that allows illegal aliens in this country to, in combination with penalties, find a path to citizenship.

Yet, too many on the same side politically as President Bush instead of working towards a more efficient and effective channel through which to make this happen and finally solve the illegal immigrant problem in this country have seen to denigrate him and his suggestion of a guest worker program as being ‘amnesty’.

Minutes after the President made those comments, Representative Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) was on John Gibson’s Fox news show doing just that.

“Yes, I don’t know how many times the president has to be reminded of what the definition of the word amnesty is. He cannot create it, no matter how hard he tries, no matter how hard he tries to obfuscate and pretend that somehow the definition of amnesty is when you give somebody immediate citizenship,” Tancredo lamented.

“Of course, that’s got nothing to do with the real definition of amnesty. Amnesty is when you do not apply the penalty for a law that has been violated, the penalty that is on the books.”

Now Congressman Tancredo is a fine man, an excellent representative, and a solid Conservative, but since he has chosen to lambaste the president on this issue he has to be called out on his own obfuscation.

Amnesty as applied by the congressman is that since the penalty ‘on the books’ isn’t enforced, then amnesty has occurred. But the real definition of amnesty is a total and unequivocal forgiveness for a law that has been broken.

Are we parsing words here? Sure, but let’s be clear on this. Congress can and does routinely amend the punishment for laws that are already ‘on the books’. Even though the Senate bill has many unreasonable aspects to it, it does redefine the punishment for the illegal immigration that has been allowed to happen for years.

As bad as parts of that bill may be, it does not give total and unequivocal forgiveness to those who have broken our immigration laws.

If people want to play the ‘It’s Only Amnesty If We Say It’s Amnesty’ game, then let’s play and take it up another notch.

Congressman Mike Pence (R-Ind.) spoke to the Heritage Foundation recently and said, “We must say no to amnesty in any form. My bill offers a no-amnesty solution to the problem of 12 million illegal aliens living in our country. Some argue that there is no amnesty if these 12 million illegal aliens are required to pay a fine or back taxes. The President and many in the Senate seem to believe this to be the proper path. I disagree.”

So Congressman Pence, another solid upstanding conservative, decided to give his definition of amnesty while going on the attack, “Amnesty in this context is allowing people whose first act in America was an illegal act to get right with the law without leaving the country. Allowing 12 million illegal aliens to stay in our country instead of leaving and coming back legally is amnesty, no matter if fines or back taxes are paid, or how it is otherwise dressed up or spun by its proponents.”

The amazing thing about that is, many commentators attacking the president on this issue complain that that since we don’t know who the illegals are, how could they be made to pay a fine. Yet, those same people think that 12 million illegals are just simply going to leave or be removed from the country even though they don’t know who the illegals are.

Right! How many millions of ruby red slippers does Congress have to hand out so that millions of illegals can tap their heels together and repeat ‘there’s no place like home’?!

You’re probably wondering right about now how we’re going to remove 12 million people from this country... that has to happen, otherwise you’re proposing amnesty.

Guess what, Congressman Pence agrees with you and said, “It is not logistically possible to round up 12 million illegal aliens. When I think of the horrific images in the world press the night Elian Gonzalez was taken into custody, I can't image the American people would put up with that for very long. We know that this idea of putting everybody on buses and conducting a mass deportation is a non-starter.”

Are you confused yet? It gets worse.

According to Rep. Pence, illegals will happily volunteer to leave the country. That’s right and the employers who are employing many of them will assist by applying for work visas for those illegals they’ve employed.

“The visa will be issued only outside of the United States,” Pence said. “Outside of the United States is a key point; it is the provision that will require the 12 million illegal aliens to leave.”

Here’s an interesting question, are the families of the employed illegal aliens, who would somehow find their way back to Mexico, going to just stay in their country of origin, while the employed member of the family returns to America to work with the new visa in hand?

Oh yeah, and who exactly is going to pay for this mass exodus of illegal aliens from this country and would that exodus include the children of those illegal aliens who are now American citizens under the current law?

That law can be changed, but would the children who are suddenly illegal, be given amnesty or would they also have to return to their country of origin, since they were born under the auspices of the law that was ‘on the books’ and are now American citizens?

Here’s something the ‘it’s amnesty because I said it’s amnesty’ crowd should think about. Dan Bartlett wrote in a memo after the President’s last speech on the issue that a CNN poll showed 79% and in a CBS poll 77% of Americans want long-time illegals to have a path to citizenship.

Other polls also show that the majority of the American populace want a balanced comprehensive immigration reform package that secures the border while also generating a guest worker program for the illegals who are in this country.

The question is, are our elected representatives going to go around playing ‘it’s amnesty because we say it’s amnesty’ word games or are they going to solve this problem so we can put an end to it once and for all?

Copyright 2016 Lee P Butler. All Rights Reserved.