Just Say No: Congress’s Amnesty First Bill

With lawmakers enjoying their two-week Easter recess, a group of big-government special interests and congressional staffers worked quietly behind closed doors to hammer out an agreement on the last remaining hurdles to a comprehensive overhaul of our nation’s immigration system.  Of course, Americans and most lawmakers haven’t seen the details of this grand bargain yet.

According to reports, though, the House-drafted proposal mirrors the Senate’s “Gang of Eight” plan.  In other words, there are two separate bipartisan amnesty first bills ready to be unveiled by lawmakers next week.  However, amnesty is not the solution to our nation’s problem of unlawful immigration.

Heritage’s Senior Vice President for Legal and Judicial Policy David Addington explains, amnesty “discourages respect for the law, treats law-breaking aliens better than law-following aliens, and encourages future unlawful immigration into the United States.”

Addington goes on to clarify, “Amnesty comes in many forms”:

The term “amnesty” is often used loosely with reference to aliens unlawfully in the United States. Sometimes it refers to converting the status of an alien from unlawful to lawful, either without conditions or on a condition such as a payment of a fee to the government. Sometimes it refers to granting lawful authority for an alien unlawfully in the U.S. to remain in the U.S., become a lawful permanent resident, or even acquire citizenship by naturalization, either without conditions or on a condition such as payment of a fee to the government or performance of particular types of work for specified periods.

Amnesty is also a term bill sponsors will avoid using.  Supporters will also avoid talking about the bill’s cost.  That is why Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) sent a letter to Senate Judiciary Chairman Pat Leahy (D-VT) warning him not to “rush to pass an amnesty bill before the American people know what’s in it.”

In 2007, Heritage’s Robert Rector performed the sort of cost-analysis all lawmakers should have before considering such a sweeping reform.  In a recent interview, Rector explained the House and Senate proposals seem to be “virtually identical to the 2007 bill and would be extremely costly to the U.S. taxpayers.”  According to Rector, “Granting amnesty or legal status to illegals will generate costs in Medicare and Social Security alone of $2.5 trillion above any taxes paid in.”

Congress has the authority and the responsibility to fix our nation’s immigration system.  To do it right, they must take a careful, step-by-step approach.  As history has demonstrated, a comprehensive, one-size-fits-all approach is destined to fail.  Rather than repeating the mistakes of the past, Congress must chart a new course:

Congress should continue to search for appropriate ways to encourage lawful immigration, reducing the burdens of the immigration process on both the government and lawful immigrants, and making it easier for both America and the lawful immigrants to enjoy the economic and cultural benefits that result from lawful immigration.

Conservatives cannot play the amnesty game with Barack Obama and the left.  It will make for bad policy and bad politics.

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16 thoughts on “Just Say No: Congress’s Amnesty First Bill

  1. no amnesty ever! american citizens are out of work, we can’t afford to give away our jobs and our country. it’s the job of government to work for we the people of the united states not the people of central and south america.

  2. Amnesty is a short version of “I want your vote”. That is the reasoning by progressives and the wannabes. We have immigration laws on the books, to ignore then is unlawful and unconstitutional.
    Truth be told maybe it is time for changes to the law, but it is also time to prosecute violators of the present laws.

    • If they just follows the laws on the books, many of there voting problems would be solved! Do not add more laws that are followed when they want to use them!

    THE ONES THAT LET THEM IN. WE DON’T have secure boarders now, what makes you
    think the Obama administration will change it’s stripes???

  4. Amnesty is totally opposite the Rule of Law……..It is Anti-American……

    Who have been involved in the amnesty process?……….Labor Unions and the Chamber of Commerce representing major international corporations………….No citizens allowed!

  5. OK – I see a lot of “No Amnesty”! I’m all in favor of that.
    What I don’t see is “this is our plan to fix this problem.”
    Man up, or quit bitching!

  6. The term amnesty is used too loosely these days. Amnesty, as we have experienced in the past under Reagan, grants citizenship. Rand Paul simply wants to grant “Green Cards” to those who are currently working. He does not want to grant medical benefits, but does want “Green Card” holders to pay taxes. This is not amnesty as we have come to know it, quite the opposite. “Green Cards” carry a revocable status: Citizenship is irrevocable.

  7. Dan Holler: Please consider this approach to moving illegals to legal immigrant status.

    It is apolitical and satisfies the most demanding voices on either side of the aisle. Most important: It is, as I see it, fair to us American citizens, for we have the experience…experience at seeing what requirements must guide our lawmakers to integrate and assimilate these illegals. Thank you.

    3-to-5-year window of opportunity to register to apply for legal immigrant status

    * Pay fee of $500 to U.S. government for admin, criminal and health background check in U.S. and home country
    * Surrender/verify all documents
    * Take and pass course in written and spoken English
    * Take and pass course in U.S. history and government
    * Proof of work history, current employment
    These are the fair and balanced requirements that will satisfy all of us conservative–and other–Americans. These run parallel to legal immigrant requirements but have some stiffer requirements, in part because many illegals have made it difficult to acculturate them in sheer numbers alone. This is a process that offers motivation and closure to illegals and can help them in their assimilation and will raise their understanding of us and our culture. In the name of acculturation and understanding, of acceptance by a wide margin of Americans, I ask that you incorporate these requirements for moving illegals to a legal status.

    Dr. Robert N. Schwartz

  8. These people are here ILLEGALLY. When Americans do something illegal, there are consequences, why not for illegal aliens. They must apply for legal status just like all of those before them, who chose to come here. In order to do that they should return to their country of origin and apply properly. This administration needs to enforce the current laws. NO AMNESTY!

  9. Pingback: Frosty Wooldridge — The 100 million immigrant amnesty equation | Your Dog Wouldn't Like It

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