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Six Reasons Amnesty Is a Bad Idea By: Allan Wall
FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, March 25, 2002

THE MOVEMENT TO GRANT AMNESTY TO ILLEGAL ALIENS is afoot once more, despite the fact that most Americans oppose it. That’s why its supporters don’t call it "amnesty" at all, but "regularization" or some such euphemism. Amnesty can be approved by various sneaky methods, in order to avoid real debate on the issue - something amnesty-backers desperately wish to avoid. Amnesty could be attached as a "rider" on a popular bill, pushed through at an odd time in the legislative calendar or approved in such a manner as not to reveal who was really for it and who wasn’t.  Amnesty could also be approved by including it in a "temporary" worker program to "solve" a non-existent labor shortage, or in the form of yet another extension of the 245(i) amnesty-for-sale measure, recently approved by the House (by only one vote) but not yet by the Senate.

Any way you cut it, though, amnesty is a bad deal for the U.S.A. Consider a few reasons:


Both common sense and experience tell you that. The approval of any amnesty deal would be known here in Mexico and in other countries immediately, if not sooner. A few years ago I had a sixth-grade student informing me there was to be another amnesty.

Amnesty sends a message to immigrant-sending countries that America is a pushover, and that future illegal aliens are also likely to be amnestied as well.

Back in 1986, there was a big amnesty that was supposed to be the amnesty to end all amnesties. Now there are more illegal aliens in the United States than in 1986. (One set of calculations puts the figure at about 11 million, with about 3 million from Mexico alone, though no mortal knows for sure).

Granting any or all of these illegal aliens an amnesty is not a solution because it encourages more illegal immigration. Which means at a future date, another amnesty will be promoted as the solution....


A legal immigrant expressed it to this way, "Here I am like an idiot, applying to immigrate, filling out papers, learning English, getting a job, paying taxes, becoming part of the American community – and for what? So that my taxes can support the 3 million illegals who cross the border, get on welfare, send their kids to Spanish schools, get free health care (for which I have to pay of course) and wait for their citizenship to show up at the door, then turn around and vote for people who will raise my taxes to let in another 3 million?"

It’s hard to argue with such logic. The correspondent also told me that. "I have been here for almost 20 years. America has changed so drastically and for the worse. If I had it over today I would stay home. Very sad."

An amnesty sends a powerful message to prospective immigrants in other countries. It tells them that it’s simpler, and more rewarding, to emigrate illegally than legally.


The INS is a bureaucracy with serious problems.

Need I remind readers that the INS issued visas to two dead 9/11 terrorists – on March 11? The INS is so over-loaded with processing visas that it can’t properly investigate prospective immigrants. The present INS commissioner, James Ziglar, was appointed with no qualifications whatsoever to run the agency and once publicly expressed his uncertainty as to whether he even believes in controlling the border!

The real culprit of course is Congress, who sends the INS conflicting directives and then fails to exercise oversight.

The solution is to fix the presently existing problems by adopting clear guidelines and reduce immigration so the INS can do its job properly. An amnesty would just add to their backlog of unprocessed visas and make a bad situation even worse.


The 9/11 attack was, among other things, a failure of U.S. immigration policy. We are all paying for it.

Our troops are laying their lives on the line in Afghanistan and may soon do so in other places.

At home, thousands of National Guardsmen have been separated from their families and activated to guard airports, the border and military bases.

To me, this is more than a news item. I have been called up by my National Guard unit and must report soon to participate in Homeland Security. I may be gone for a year.

And, as always in times of national stress, our civil liberties too could be in danger if we’re not careful.

How then could national leaders, of both parties, have the unmitigated gall to amnesty people who did not respect our laws and entered our country illegally, or over-stayed their visas?

Bear in mind that the already existing infrastructure supporting illegal immigration (document fraud, etc.) can be easily utilized by terrorists. Seven of the 9/11 suicide attackers acquired phony identification with the aid of illegal aliens, using the fraudulent infrastructure that already exists to serve illegals. An open border, by its very definition, does not discriminate between those who want to work illegally and those who wish to wreak havoc.



Before we enact an amnesty to further swamp the INS, there are basic questions that should be answered.

Immigration is a public policy issue that the American people have the right to decide upon. The basic question, usually ignored, is, " What kind of immigration system should we have?" It’s not wrong for American citizens to ask this question, nor is it wrong for them to question the present system.

The present legal immigration system is based on nepotism, i.e., the majority of legal immigrants are accepted because they have relatives already in the country. Is such a system really appropriate for 21st-century America?

What about dual citizenship? More and more people have it, but our leaders are afraid to deal with it. How does dual citizenship impact American civic values and equality before the law?

And how about those anchor babies? Is it fair to reward illegal immigrants by automatically declaring their children citizens?

Furthermore, it is no longer necessary for prospective voters to even prove their citizenship.

These are important questions that should be dealt with and resolved before ANY amnesty is even considered.


An amnesty would signal to Mexico’s leadership that it can continue to send its poor to the U.S. rather than solve Mexico’s problems in Mexico.

Certainly, the existence of a more prosperous Mexico is in the best interests of the United States. Yet, as I have argued elsewhere, the present mass immigration policy is hardly bringing about that goal. Mass emigration serves as an impediment to Mexico’s development. Why take the difficult decisions to improve Mexico’s long-term prospects when the poor people can be sent northwards?

The career of Vicente Fox is a prime example of this phenomenon.

Candidate Fox promised prosperity and a new Mexico which would provide jobs for all Mexicans IN Mexico.

After 15 months in office, however, the magic has begun to fade. Fox’s incoherent economic program has stalled. The presidente has failed to even attempt really substantial measures that could make Mexico more prosperous – breaking up the government energy monopolies, fixing the country’s pathetic property title system, making it easier for entrepreneurs to start new businesses, improving the taxation system, etc. Now Fox’s main economic program is to keep the U.S. borders open!

How can we help Mexico prosper? By cutting off the safety valve that encourages its leadership to dodge the tough decisions. When that happens, you can expect to see some real reform, but not until then.

Then if we wanted to design some kind of Marshall plan to help Mexico, we could. The Marshall Plan that rebuilt Europe, remember, was based on helping Europe rebuild, not encouraging Europeans to move to the United States.

Helping Mexicans IN Mexico – now that’s a novel concept!

Allan Wall (allan39@provalue.net) recently returned to the U.S. after having resided many years in Mexico.

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