On Wednesday, in a speech to the National Association of Manufacturers, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) argued that the Senate immigration bill “is not amnesty.” Ryan offered to debate anyone who considered the legalization process in the bill to be “amnesty.” At the end of the week, Heritage Action CEO Michael Needham accepted Ryan’s debate challenge.
Ryan said the Senate bill “is not amnesty” because “amnesty is wiping the slate clean and not paying any penalty for having done something wrong.” Needham countered Ryan’s point at Heritage Action’s blog, The Forge:
Now some have suggested the inclusion of a $500 fine that accompanies the application for RPI status, which lasts for six years (and can be renewed for another six for an additional $500), is definitive proof the bill is not amnesty. Paying $7 per month for “earned legalization” seems like a bargain, especially when you consider there are more than four million people waiting to come to America to work and live here legally.
Left out of most discussions about immigration reform are the millions of people around the world who are waiting, in many cases years, to move here legally. They are mired in our dysfunctional legal immigration system. To these unfortunate pursuers of the American dream, whether the current 11-12 million immigrants who came into the country illegally receive “amnesty” or “legalization” is a distinction without a difference.