Friday, May 19, 2006

"Amnesty" - The Right's Equivalent to "Medicare Cuts"

I'm going to use the claim by that Mel Martinez is supporting amnesty to explore into one of my biggest complaints about the opponents of the Martinez-Hagel compromise immigration bill. To wit, that it is an "amnesty" that rewards lawbreakers.

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.


dweeb said...

It's a token punishment, a slap on the wrist, but a slap in the face of every person who ever went down to the embassy and applied via the legal route. It still rewards the lawbreaking because, in the end, the lawbreaker gets what he sought. It's like a car thief getting to pay a fine and keep the car he stole.

Furthermore, at the time they made the decision to break the law, the penalty on the books was deportation. Why take the penalty for any crime seriously - just keep from getting caught until some bleeding heart legislates the penalty down to something you can live with.

Katie's Dad said...

As I posted at my site, you're right, this isn't an "amnesty." There is no word for actually paying someone who has broken the law for his or her efforts.

* Illegal entry - $2000 fine.

* Use someone else's identity in a, perhaps, ruinous manner - Zero Dollars.

* Going through the motions of learning english and a bit of historical minutiae at taxpayer expense - Zero Dollars.

* Paying Back Taxes - Zero Dollars (you didn't earn enough).

* Getting "documented" and immediately being made eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit - $1500* a year for five years or $7500.

* Trade in your Matricula Consulares for for a Green Card - No Charge.

* Having the taxpayers unwittingly pay you to move to the head of the line for citizenship while others pay through the nose for what used to be a sacred privilege - Priceless.

That's right. The current bill, if you follow the way our tax system works, will end up PAYING ILLEGAL ALIENS TO BECOME CITIZENS! They won't owe back taxes, they'll be due back-tax-credits. And if they have kids, the tax credits will exceed the amount of the fine for the first year. Chances are, under the Bush McAmnesty Plan, today's illegal aliens will "get square" with the IRS by accepting big fat checks that they'll take bank and then fill out one of those temporary checks to pay their "fine" and still have thousands left in the bank! That's a "severe penalty" in the McAmnesty playbook!

See: Unabashedly Unhyphenated: Fisking Senator McAmnesty And His "Great American Citizenship Give-Away Program"