Amnesty: How Does It Relate to Conservatism and Immigration?

Amnesty: How Does It Relate to Conservatism and Immigration?

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Generally, amnesty is defined as any governmental pardon for past offenses or crimes, especially political ones. Granting amnesty goes beyond a pardon, in that it forgives the said offense completely, and typically without consequences.

For purposes of conservative politics, amnesty is a political term typically associated with two major issues: immigration and capital punishment.

As it relates to immigration, amnesty is the term used for granting automatic citizenship to resident aliens, who are in the United States illegally. Amnesty for illegal immigrants is the subject of tremendous controversy since it essentially bypasses the citizenship and assimilation process essential to all legal immigration into the United States.

As it relates to the death penalty, amnesty is the term used for when a governor grants a reprieve from execution to a prisoner sentenced to death. In this case, amnesty is different from a pardon in that it doesn't exonerate the condemned from all punitive action or absolve the convicted of all wrongdoing.​

Illegal Immigration

Was the 2013 "Gang of Eight" Bill amnesty?

The easy answer is: Not really. The 2013 immigration bill did not offer blanket amnesty. In fact, there were a number of requirements, penalties, and steps that needed to be taken in order to remain in the country legally, and not everyone would get to stay:

The Gang of Eight bill is actually called the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013. It was a comprehensive immigration reform proposal originating in and passed by the US Senate. It was a Democrat-friendly bill that needed a lot of work and had a lot of poor elements to it. The eight members included Republicans Marco Rubio, John McCain, Jeff Flake, and Lindsey Graham and Democrats Chuck Schumer, Bob Menendez, Richard Durbin, and Michael Bennet. The bill eventually passed by a vote of 68-32. From a conservative standpoint, the bill was not very good and though it had provisions beefing up border security, they were ultimately toothless and gave far too much power to the executive branch.

Immigration Reform

If immigration reform fails once again, it needs to fail after both the Senate and House pass bills. If the House passes an enforcement-first bill that the Senate refuses to adopt, the Senate is equally responsible for reform failing. And while voters agree immigration reform needs to happen, they also agree that closing the border and preventing more illegal immigration is a top priority. If the bill ultimately fails it will be on those grounds. Democrats want little in the way of border security, increasing deportation of criminal aliens, or slowing down the legalization and citizenship process. All of these are crucial elements of any immigration reform. If they are absent, reform should fail. These provisions have broad support among voters. The proof is in the television and radio ads that members of the "Gang of Eight" are running. In those ads, the Senate bill proponents constantly talk about strong enforcement measures because they know Americans do not want to see the current scenario play out again in a decade. Of course, those measures have been trimmed out of the bill. If immigration reform ultimately fails because conservatives stood for these core elements it will be harder for them to be badgered politically. After all, the are holding out for positions with broad public support. That said, the Republican Party has never been known to play to their advantages well with the public.

Pronunciation: amnistee

Also Known As: acquittal, compurgation, exculpation, forgiveness, mercy, release

Examples: "Amnesty is a terrible policy, and it's terrible politics. It's a terrible policy because you are rewarding people for breaking the law."- Tom Tancredo

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