During his speech Thursday night, President Barack Obama announced that he would be enacting sweeping immigration reforms through a series of executive orders, and he insisted that these reforms were not amnesty, contrary to the clear definition of the word. Obama’s plan will allow illegal immigrants who meet certain criteria — resided in the United States for more than five years, have children who are citizens or legal residents, pass a background check, etc. — to apply to remain in the United States without fear of being deported.
“I know some of the critics of this action call it amnesty,” said Obama. “Well, it’s not. Amnesty is the immigration system we have today — millions of people who live here without paying their taxes or playing by the rules, while politicians use the issue to scare people and whip up votes at election time.”
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the definition of amnesty is “an undertaking by the authorities to take no action against specified offenses or offenders during a fixed period.”
Obama’s immigration plan is an undertaking by the authorities (federal immigration officials) to take no action to deport people who have violated our immigration laws and have entered or remained in the country illegally.
As for the “fixed period” part of the definition, Texas Attorney General and Governor-elect Greg Abbott vowed the state would oppose Obama’s executive orders with “immediate” legal action, the new Congress with both the House and Senate under Republican control will reconvene on January 3, 2015, and Obama’s term as President will end on January 20, 2017.
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