Paul Ryan’s Favorite Book is Definitely not the Dictionary

Paul Ryan has declared that he will debate anyone who says the Gang of Eight bill is amnesty. This from a man who by comparison made Joe Biden sound like Demosthenes in their vice presidential debate last fall.


Ryan’s argument is that granting amnesty to 12 million illegal aliens is not amnesty because he has decided to call it “earned legalization.” What does he mean by “earned legalization?” Why, amnesty of course. Sadly, Ryan is what passes for the “intellectual leader” of the GOP these days.

It would not be difficult for Paul Ryan to find out the meaning of amnesty, and to discover that there is no such recognized term as “earned legalization.” He could click here, or here. Or he could pick up an actual dictionary, any dictionary will do. They are quite weighty publications, so he could strengthen both body and mind.

To save him some time, I’ll provide him with a standard definition.

  1. a general pardon, esp for offences against a government;
  2. a period during which a law is suspended to allow offenders to admit their crime without fear of prosecution;
  3. a pardon granted by the Crown or Executive and effected by statute.

Collins English Dictionary

He could also consult his hero Ayn Rand Ronald Reagan, who had no problem understanding plain English or the plain truth. Heck, he can even quote Marco Rubio, circa 2009.

If Ryan is serious about debating this issue (though he ran from the very first opportunity to do so) he might want to acquaint himself with existing U.S. law. In it, he could discover that the penalty for an alien who is illegally in the United States is deportation and either a three or ten year bar from applying to reenter the country. The Gang of Eight waives these penalties for illegal aliens, as well as forgiving identity theft, filing a false tax return, etc., etc, etc. This is amnesty.

Ryan’s argument is that illegal aliens won’t receive amnesty because they will have to “pay a fine [and] back taxes.” The “fine” is nominal, $2,000 and can be paid out over the span of 10 years, and can be waived at the discretion of the Secretary of Homeland Security. Ryan’s assertion that the Gang of Eight bill requires amnestied aliens to pay back taxes bill is simply untrue. But the larger point is that this amnesty may indeed have certain conditions, but that only makes it a conditional amnesty –which is what almost every amnesty is.

Take one example. A tax amnesty doesn’t mean tax scofflaws get off scot free. It means that the penalties for not paying taxes are reduced or waived. That’s the amnesty part. Most importantly, it does not entitle tax cheats to continue to avoid paying taxes in the future.

The amnesty Ryan is defending is coupled with the inestimable reward of allowing those who violate U.S. immigration law to remain in the United States and eventually to gain citizenship and full access to each and every benefit offered by local, state, and federal governments. In other words, after paying a small fine (perhaps) for having entered, resided, or worked in the United States illegally, they gain the benefit of entering, residing and working in the United States legally.

What Ryan is trying to pass off as “earned legalization,” is, in fact, nothing more than buying one’s way out of compliance with the law – which is nothing more than an assault on the rule of law.

The Republican Establishment’s New Talking Point: “De Facto Amnesty”

It is clear that someone in the Republican hierarchy has decided that calling the failure of the federal government to secure the border and enforce current immigration law “de facto amnesty” will convince Americans that the Gang of Eight atrocity is the only alternative. This is pure duplicity. These Republicans are decrying de facto amnesty while giving their full support to de jure amnesty.

The answer to our “broken immigration system” is not amnesty. The answer is a Congress that does its constitutional duty in ensuring that the President “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”

Too bad Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Kelly Ayotte, Lamar Alexander, and Paul Ryan are members of Congress who are more concerned with parroting the Party line than they are about upholding their oath of office.

“Our current immigration system is a disaster. What we have now is de facto amnesty.” U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida)

“[T]he status quo isn’t working – it’s de facto amnesty.” U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)

“Millions here illegally have de facto amnesty.” U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee)

“I’ve got a news flash for those who want to call people names on amnesty. What we have now is de facto amnesty.” U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky)

“What we have right now is de facto amnesty – meaning there are currently 11 million immigrants living undocumented and without legal status in the United States.” U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin)

Senator Rand Paul’s Self-Discovery Tour Kicks into High Gear

As he seeks to position himself for a 2016 Presidential run, it is difficult to guess what Senator Rand Paul will say, or what position he will hold, from one day to the next. On immigration, Paul was against amnesty before he was for “comprehensive immigration reform” before he had serious reservations about the Gang of Eight bill before he decided he just might vote for it.

Anyone who is following Rand Paul’s political career understands that he walks a fine line between being a Tea Party rebel and an establishment Republican who can win the financial support of multinational corporations whose backing can be decisive for a serious run at the Presidency.

This was evident in his defense of Apple’s tax dodge, in which Paul tried to portray the expectation that a company that earns billions of dollars in profit in America should pay taxes in America as government “bullying”. The very next week, the Senator jetted off to Silicon Valley on a fundraising tour. Paul has vigorously supported increasing the number of foreign tech workers the computer industry uses to displace American workers and drive down wages. Paul’s defense of tax havens and his call for huge increases in guest workers sells quite well in Silicon Valley, where industry titans have traditionally been more generous to Democratic politicians.

It also appears that Paul recognizes that conservation is an issue that resonates with voters, unlike many of his Republican colleagues, who only use the word “environmentalism” as a pejorative. Speaking at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California, Paul said that Republicans “care just as deeply about the environment as Democrats,” and that “I am a libertarian-conservative who spends most of my free time outdoors…I compost, I plant trees.” 

It is great that Paul does these things, but as a U.S. Senator he has the opportunity and the responsibility to do much more to protect the environment, starting with supporting the enactment of a sustainable immigration system.  If he continues to ignore the environmental and ecological consequences of adding over 50 million people to the U.S. population through the immigration system over the next ten years he is espousing the Al Gore brand of environmentalism – otherwise known as hypocrisy.

Center for American Progress Continues to Dissemble on Economic Benefits of Amnesty

Many proponents of the Gang of Eight amnesty have made the false claim that the 1986 amnesty raised wages for illegal aliens by 15 percent, and the same boost would occur today if the Schumer-Rubio amnesty were passed. This bogus assertion is based upon a 2010 Center for American Progress (CAP) report that misrepresented a 1996 Department of Labor (DOL) report on the economic process of amnestied aliens five years after legalization.

The author of the CAP report, Raul Hinojosa-Ojeda, an associate professor of Chicano Studies at UCLA, correctly stated that a survey for DOL found “real hourly wages of immigrants who acquired legal status under IRCA’s general legalization program had increased an average of 15.1 percent by 1992,” but he incorrectly attributes this to amnesty, directly contradicting the conclusions of the researchers whose work he cited.

What the DOL researchers found was that while amnestied aliens wages did increase 15 percent by 1992, this was the exact same amount as the wage increase for non-amnestied workers.  An improving economy, not amnesty, resulted in wage gains for all workers on average.  However, digging a little deeper, the DOL researchers discovered that those 1986 amnesty recipients who were younger, better educated, spoke English well, were earning better than average wages before amnesty, were from Asia and Europe, and were visa overstayers as opposed to illegal border crossers, did much better after amnesty.  As a group, Mexican nationals, who accounted for 70 percent of those amnestied, did the worst.

The researchers found that the “likelihood of unemployment was higher for legalized than for other U.S. men,” and “after five years of legal U.S. residence, a disproportionate share of legalization families were still below the poverty threshold.” Hinojosa failed to report these facts. He also failed to mention that between 1986 and 1992 the minimum wage rose 27 percent, driving up the average hourly wage for workers, another factor unrelated to amnesty.

See the full analysis of the CAP claims here.

Potentially the Greatest Comprehensive Immigration Reform Fiasco in the History of the World

Ads featuring Marco Rubio (and Paul Ryan) shilling for amnesty and major increases in guest worker programs are now blanketing the airwaves. These ads are paid for by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s lobbying group, Americans for a Conservative Direction, which is nothing more than a front for the tech industry that supports the Rubio’s bill because it will substantially increase their access to lower-wage foreign workers. The Gang of Eight even included the so-called Facebook loophole, which expands the number of foreign workers companies (i.e. Facebook) can employ without restriction.

In one of the ads, Rubio claims that the Gang of Eight bill put in place “potentially” the toughest enforcement measures in the “history of the world.” So why then has Rubio made it clear that the bill as it now stands is not tough enough, and has vowed to fight to amend the bill to cut down on chain migration, to prevent amnestied aliens from receiving welfare, and to build that dang border fence –at least the 700 miles that was required by legislation passed in 2006. By Rubio’s reckoning, these new measures should make the bill the toughest in the known universe, and potentially in all as yet undiscovered dimensions of space and time.

If these new security and enforcement measures are not met, Rubio claims that one of his amendments would prevent already amnestied aliens from renewing their probationary status when it expires in six years time; except, presumably, for all of those who are put at the front the line, such as the “Dreamers” and agricultural workers who are eligible for a green card after five years. Rubio, who has lost all credibility on this issue, now wants the American public to believe that if the enforcement triggers aren’t met then millions of amnesty recipients will either be deported, or will revert back to their previous status and remain in the country illegally –he hasn’t made that part clear yet.

Where was Rubio when the bill was being negotiated? Was he even in the room? Did he just vote present? Or did he send his staff’s immigration lawyer to negotiate in his stead? Whatever the case, Rubio now realizes that the public is not buying what he’s selling, and he’s furiously scrambling to position himself on the right side of public opinion. Problem is, his fellow gang members are none too happy with his newly discovered concern for what the American people actually want from immigration reform. Once in, in for life, Marco, remember that. The Democrats are threatening to call your bluff, and if you torpedo this thing now, John McCain will forever give you dirty looks in the elevator. Mark Zuckerberg might even unfriend you.

GOP Leadership Waits for Permission to Speak Out Against Executive Branch Abuses

The Republican leadership is outraged by the reprehensible behavior of the Obama Administration in the Benghazi cover-up, the use of the IRS to go after its political enemies, and the Justice Department’s unwarranted seizure of Associated Press phone records. They have every right to be outraged, but where was this outrage earlier, before the media gave Republicans the green light to express their indignation?

When President Obama usurped Congress’ authority over immigration policy and illegally declared that the DREAM Act would go into effect even though it had failed to pass (a Democratic controlled) Congress, Mitch McConnell and John Boehner said nothing about this abuse of Presidential power. When President Obama brazenly refused to enforce immigration law and ridiculed those who want a secure the border as people who must want a “moat with alligators in it” along the southern border, Mitch McConnell and John Boehner said nothing. As DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano continuously claimed that “record deportations” were taking place in the face of evidence, and the President’s own admission, that such claims were “deceptive,” Mitch McConnell and John Boehner said nothing.

McConnell and Boehner are content to let “gangs” in the Senate and House run the show on immigration reform. Neither has taken a position on one of the most transformative pieces of legislation in the history of the nation. If they are looking to be outraged there is plenty to be upset about in the Gang of Eight bill. Instead, they take their cues from the op-ed pages of The New York Times, demanding answers to questions they should have been asking long before now.

Selective outrage is better than none, but a party, any party, that would defend the Constitution and fight for the interests of the American people would be much better than what we have now.