What does “no amnesty” really mean?

Part of the debate about what to do with the 12 million or so illegal aliens in the country is that there should not be any amnesty for them.

Short of deporting 12 million people [1], how are we going to let them stay in the country without this looking like amnesty? There are some obvious answers.

First, in order to gain legal status to remain, those who overstayed their visas (about half the illegal aliens) or who crossed the border illegally would have to admit to the crime of doing this and pay a fine. How much a fine? Is a fine enough? If not, what is your option for punishment for the obvious law violation involved? Do you want them to serve some time in jail? Are you willing to pay higher taxes to incarcerate 12 million people? How many people would voluntarily turn themselves in if a fine were involved versus how many would step up if they faced jail time?  If we are too punitive do we not just keep the status quo where there is more benefit to hide and try and stay here illegally?

Second, a solution being proposed suggests that those who violated the law should not be eligible for a citizenship track. Are you ok with that?

Third, what do you do about the children of illegal immigrants who were born here? Or who were brought into the US as young kids? Kick them out? Punish them for something their parents did? Pass some new draconian law like being suggested by state senator Russell Pearce that does not grant citizenship to those born of illegal parents?

What’s your position on the DREAM Act?

Do you begin to see the real problem?

The real problem is both the INS and the Border Patrol failed to stop illegal entry and to track down those who overstayed their visas. Shouldn’t we also punish those who failed their jobs and created this massive problem in the first place? Are you willing to give the federal officials who managed to create this mess amnesty?

The failure to define what “no amnesty” means in a way that recognizes we’re not going to kick 12 million people out of the country speaks volumes about  unwillingness to find a real solution to the problem.

Interestingly, if one pursues a definition of “no amnesty” that does not reward illegal entry, and does not attempt to deport 12 million people, you might actually  find a lot of Hispanics who did enter legally supporting the solution…eliminating any racist taint.


[1] How do you deport 12 million people?

Some of the more rabid anti-immigrant folks want to deport the 12 million or so illegal aliens inside the country right now.

Think about this real seriously for a moment.

How do you round up 12 million people? First you’ve got to check everyone in the country for legal status. Can’t make any mistakes here as to who you kick out of the country.

Will every law enforcement officer in the country have to be deputized to check legality? Will SB 1070 need to be a national law?

Are we all going to have to show up somewhere to be certified as being legally here?

How many federal agents will have to be hired to pull this off? Another 100,000?

What’s the time frame for doing this? One year? Five years?

Assuming you can round up 100,000 people a day. How are you going to deport them? Fly them out of the country like the current “repatriation” effort of the Border Patrol? At  200 passengers per plane (standing room only) that’s 500 flights per day. Maybe only 10,000 people a day, and 50 flights. Where from” LA and New York? Where to? Country of origin?

Do we just do more of what’s being done now…catch them, drive them down to the border in Wackenhut buses,and boot them over the line? How many more agents and buses will be needed to make a dent in the 12 million population?

I suggest anyone arguing to deport the illegal aliens now in the country put forth their plan of how to do this and how much it would cost.

 Finally, does anyone really think the American public would tolerate a mass deportation effort?


About Hugh Holub

Attorney and writer.
This entry was posted in border issues, border patrol, border patrol tucson sector, border security, department of homeland security, hugh holub, immigration law reform, us customs and border protection and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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