July 14, 2013

Peter Schaeffer: The meaning of "amnesty"

Peter Schaeffer writes on the Senate immigration bill:
Paul Ryan says it’s not Amnesty. Believe it or not, he is actually correct. It's far better than Amnesty. 
In a tax Amnesty, you still have to pay your back taxes. In an Amnesty for property crimes, you still have to return the stolen property. 
If this was just an Amnesty for illegals, they would have to pay a fine and go back to their own countries without legal sanction for having violated our immigration laws. 
This is far better than Amnesty. More like winning the lottery and getting a pot of gold. 
The advocates claim that it's not Amnesty because of the trifling fines ($500). Guess what? The 1986 Amnesty had fines too and no one lied about it not being Amnesty. Indeed, the authors admit that the 1986 law was Amnesty. This time, only the honesty to use the 'A' word is missing.

10 comments:

Matthew said...

Exactly. What the public suffers from when discussing immigration policy is the fact that, in the context of immigration enforcement, we've lost sight of the definitions of words like "punishment" and "amnesty."

A cop pulls you over for speeding.

He gives you a ticket: punishment.

He lets you off with a warning: amnesty.

He pays you $200 and thanks you for speeding: reward.

In the context of immigration, which is which? Deporting them to their home countries is not punishment. That's just reclaiming the stolen goods. If the only thing you do to a car thief is take back the stolen car you will get far more car thefts, because there is no downside to the act. You either get off with a free car or you're the same as before.

Deportation is not punishment. It's reclamation of stolen goods.

Punishment is jailing or fining them before sending them home.

Amnesty is sending them home without fining or jailing them first.

Reward is letting them stay here, with or without a fine.

Since illegal immigration is in large part an economic act, there is no sense in which a fine is really a punishment, since the illegal immigrant alone gets to choose whether staying is worth the fine. In fact, the alleged "fines," supposedly to be paid over a decade, only amount to 1-3 weeks salary for any normal person, or less than what someone in the middle class might spend on a modest vacation or a flat screen TV.

Would you choose American residence over Mexican residence for the price of a flat screen TV?

countenance said...

He's right. It's not amnesty, it's a perpetual pardon and perpetual exemption from immigration law.

Matthew said...

The National Immigration Forum notes that a non-"DREAMER" illegal who eventually becomes naturalized will pay three fines: $500 for his first 6 years of RPI status, another $500 for a second 6 year period, and then $1,000 for adjusting to LPR status. The fines can all be paid in installments and will be adjusted for inflation.

So $2,000 for going from illegal alien to Legal Permanent Resident, spread out over 12+ years, or less than $170 per year. Hardly any sort of fine.

Anonymous said...

Something tells me most of these people will never even pay the fine.

Bertram Noone said...

The fees for bringing in a foreign spouse are much larger than the amnesty fines.

Anonymous said...

This point has been made before on Vdare.com. Twelve years ago, in an Aug. 2001 letter-to-the-editor. The WTC was still standing.

Anonymous said...

It's the elites waging economic and demographic warfare on the citizens.

DJF said...

""""""Matthew said

So $2,000 for going from illegal alien to Legal Permanent Resident, spread out over 12+ years, or less than $170 per year. Hardly any sort of fine."""

I bet it will cost the US taxpayer far more then this just to process the paperwork on our new legal residents.

Cail Corishev said...

Something tells me most of these people will never even pay the fine.

Yeah, we've already pretty much declared that we're too nice to ever deport anyone who resists it. So what's gonna happen when they can't pay the "fine"? Then we'll get sob stories about parents being ripped from their children again, and there will be a revision to the law to add a hardship exemption or something (if it's not already in there). If we won't deport people for committing felonies, are we going to over a few hundred bucks?

The fees for bringing in a foreign spouse are much larger than the amnesty fines.

No kidding. I looked into that about 10 years ago, and it looked like it would cost at least $10K just to explore the idea seriously. You can't bring a woman over here from most countries unless you've already married her or at least gone to her country and gotten documentation that you were there with her and are more or less engaged. Even then it's time-consuming and expensive. So it turns out there is one kind of immigrant our bureaucrats are serious about keeping out of the country: hot foreign chicks looking for husbands.

Matthew said...

"So it turns out there is one kind of immigrant our bureaucrats are serious about keeping out of the country: hot foreign chicks looking for husbands."

Hot chicks, sometimes - just as often, though (if not more so), arranged marriages by cultures that don't want to assimilate - primarily Muslims and Hindus. I'm guessing Hindus are more able to afford the cost than Muslims, though being less anti-modernity they have less incentive to want a foreign bride.