That has about as much veracity as claims that the Republicans in Congress, by reducing the rate of Medicare growth from three times the rate of inflation to twice the rate of inflation, were "cutting Medicare to pay for tax cuts for the rich". It was called "Mediscare", because the Democrats, led by Bill Clinton, resorted to the tactics of fear. And it was all a lie.
The Martinez-Hagel bill also has been the subject of a fear-mongering campaign, that has included the Heritage Foundation. Let's take a good look at the provisions for illegal immigrants to come clean in the McCain-Kennedy bill also derided as amnesty - and keep in mind that Senators Martinez and Hagel came up with a bill that was tougher than McCain-Kennedy (I am using the Google cache for those who may have trouble with Senator Martinez's web site):
- Illegal immigrants must pay a fine to remain here for up to six years.
- If they wish to apply for citizenship, there is an additional fine. They also have to pay their back taxes.
- An amendment to the Martinez-Hagel bill sets a standard that one felony conviction or three misdemeanor convictions, is sufficient for a person to be kicked out. Call this probation/a suspended sentence.
In other words, there is punishment in this bill - in the form of fines, restitution, and probation. It is not the punishment (deportation) that hard-liners like Michelle Malkin, LaShawn Barber, Polipundit, Tom Tancredo, Jeff Sessions, and others demand, but it is still punishment. As Big Lizards points out (with examples), an amnesty is something completely different than what is being proposed. What is being offered here is a plea-bargain, in which people admit guilt for a lesser sentence.
Yet the hard-liners persist in calling it what it is not, and use terms like Quisling and agents of Mexico to describe those who disagree with their hard-line views. Others accuse President Bush of being a dictator, and describe those who disagree with their proposed solutions as supporters of open borders (I want the border secure - I just don't think a 21st-Century equivalent of the Maginot Line is the best way to secure the border).
In other words, President Bush, Senator Martinez, and others trying to pass this comprehensive bill are being attacked with scurrilous statements that have no more truth in them than Bill Clinton's claims of Medicare cuts had in 1995. There is a word for this type of conduct. It's called lying.