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December 01, 2015

How Do You Define Amnesty?

AllahPundit has a good series of answers here. The jumping off point is Ted Cruz's refusal to precisely define "amnesty," but it's a good general question because many people have very different ideas of what amnesty is.

Brit Hume, for example, says "amnesty" is Allah's definition one: As long as you impose some trivial penalty for illegal immigration -- make them pay a fine, require they learn English -- then giving them citizenship is not amnesty. "Amnesty" means freedom from penalty, and you're imposing a "penalty" (an extremely weak one, and more like a minor payment for a huge benefit), so that's not amnesty.

Most Donor Class Republicans embrace this idea: As long as the grant of legal status (up to and including citizenship) has some kind of payment required (fine, back taxes, learn English), it's not "amnesty" at all, and what are you racists hooting about?

His definition four is what most anti-illegal-immigration people claim to want -- full deportation, no legal status, nothing but a bus ticket -- but in fact not so many people really want that, and such people are gravitating towards Trump's orbit, even though Trump specifically promises to "deport them all," symbolically, and then invite almost all "the good ones" right back in.

As Allah says, I don't see how that's any different than definition three (legal status but not citizenship, like a work permit or guest worker status) in actual operation, except for this big bother for both the government and the illegals themselves which no one believes will actually happen.

What would happen is some kind of silly claim that a simple trip to a foreign embassy in the US constitutes a "touchback" to one's native soil, and then, having gotten some form from the embassy of one's actual home country, one can get legal status.

This bullshit was proposed during the comprehensive immigration reform nonsense of 2006. I don't see how this bullshit is now any better.

My own preference is actually for a variation of definition three -- border security, including the dreaded wall, and then some sort of legal status which is not citizenship. I'd also want birthright citizenship repealed, and specifically for children of this class of visa-holder, because I do not want this situation of children of guest workers becoming the "New Dreamers" to whom we owe fresh obligations as a result of our generosity towards their parents.

My actual position is definition three, plus something no one ever talks about -- rollback. No, I don't think it's possible or plausible to simply round up 12-20 million people and ship them off in a year.

However, as the years have passed, more and more businesses in more and more sectors of the economy have joined the black-market-labor economy and begun hiring illegals, to the detriment of actual US citizens.

First it was migrant farm workers -- fine, Mexican migrants have been working the US farms each harvest season for hundreds of years. As with Chesterton's Wall, I assume there's a reason for that, and see no point in disturbing a long-established pattern. Adopt the law to make this official.

But then illegals began working in landscaping, and construction, and slaughterhouses, and an awfully large number of hotels and restaurants in America.

What's next here?

This is why I feel we need a policy of rollback. Not a sudden disruption or mass evacuation, but a rollback of the number of illegals -- or, after they are regularized, guest workers -- permitted to work in an industry or sector each year. Begin by legalizing most of those currently working in that industry -- as long as the employee and the actual employer pay a fine -- but pass at the same time a schedule which reduces the number of guest worker passes year by year until the numbers of illegals/guest workers working in most sectors is fairly low.

In some sectors, the illegals will have to remain high -- seasonal agriculture work, for example.

But there's no reason Hondurans should be working at good paying jobs in slaughterhouses or hotels when so many Americans are in need of work.

Over a fifteen or twenty year period, you rollback the expansion of the black market labor economy until it's at a manageable level.

And, btw, you reduce legal immigration as well. We need an immigration pause; we've always had an immigration pause after a long period of relatively free immigration, and usually for the same reason: we need to let the labor markets firm up and we need, particularly, to encourage actual assimilation into American culture, rather than having America break into tribal enclaves with special voting interests.

So, that's my position, though I've never actually stated it before. (Which puts me on the same position as many Republicans and most presidential candidates, I guess.)

I'm a three-plus on Allah's scale.

Where do you guys fall?


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posted by Ace at 01:58 PM

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