In an open letter to the amnesty movement, illegal alien activists say they will accept bills which grant legal status short of citizenship. However, if any sort of legalization happens, these activists promise to “keep fighting for more” rights. Clearly, citizenship is not off their agenda. It is the agenda of amnesty, and activists are utilizing word games to get it in increments.
In the letter, the illegal aliens write that they should focus on legislation “even if it doesn’t include a special path to citizenship.” They conclude that the 2013 inaction on immigration legislation resulted partly because Democrats held out for immigration bills that granted citizenship to illegal aliens. However, these illegal aliens clearly want citizenship in the future; the letter says currently they still “will not accept a proposal that blocks, bans or bars citizenship.”
Negotiating on a legalization bill is a strategy to capitalize on amnesty word games. The pro-amnesty lobby has long been trying to narrowly define “amnesty” to lull people into a false sense of security that what is being endorsed is not even associated with the dirty “amnesty” word. Unfortunately, they already seem to be winning over some House Republican leaders with these word games. Several Members of Congress, including House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), have adopted this distinction, and thus, contradicted themselves on their amnesty stance. These lawmakers advance supposedly less controversial policies like “finding the appropriate legal status” and “path to citizenship” but simultaneously declare they oppose amnesty.
Granting legal status to illegal aliens is amnesty. Granting citizenship to illegal aliens is amnesty. Some even say that these proposals are worse than amnesty. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach testified to Congress that granting any legal status to illegal aliens is “amnesty plus.” Amnesty would be doing nothing to punish illegal aliens for violating the law. Actually giving them the thing which they desire (legal status or citizenship) is another measure on top of the non-enforcement of immigration laws. In other words, amnesty would be comparable to not prosecuting a thief who steals some property for larceny, but “amnesty plus” is then granting that thief the property that he stole.
While the short-term strategies of the amnesty lobby may be shifting, the endgame is still the same. They want citizenship but have broken the law. Immigrants who go through the naturalization process the legal way do not have such a privilege. It’s unfair to grant illegal aliens such a privilege. No matter whether the proposal is “appropriate legal status” or “pathway to citizenship,” or whether you call it “amnesty” or “amnesty plus,” it’s still bad immigration policy.
For more on the amnesty word games, see FAIR’s infographic, Decoding Amnesty Speak.