The Perpetual Amnesty Act of 2018

February 16, 2018

Yesterday, eight Republican senators joined with 46 Democrats to vote for a bill that would have established a de facto rolling amnesty for unlimited numbers of illegal immigrants.

The final vote total fell six short of the 60 needed to end debate, with three Democrats crossing the aisle to vote with Republicans because they opposed the bill’s increased spending. If amnesty supporters can convince those three Democrats that $25 billion in higher spending is no big deal, then they will be just three votes away from moving their bill through the Senate.

And in reality, Democrats may need only two more votes to reach 60 because Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is slated to return to the Senate later this year. Finally, there are three other Republicans who voted against yesterday’s amnesty plan but voted for the Gang of 8 amnesty plan in 2013. Democrats would need to flip only two of the three senators to reach 60.

That is why it is so important for conservatives to educate themselves and others about what was in yesterday’s amnesty bill—a bill that was posted just a day before the vote.

Proponents of the so-called “Immigration Security and Opportunity Act” claim their bill offered “a permanent solution to those who came to our country as children through no fault of their own.” In a perverse way, they are kind of right.

When President Obama first announced DACA on June 15, 2012, only illegal immigrants who had entered the country before June 15, 2007 qualified for protection. We were told this would be a one-time amnesty—future amnesties would not be needed because people were no longer entering the United States illegally.

But just two years later, President Obama moved that June 15, 2007 date back three years, to June 15, 2010. Despite his previous claims that our borders were secure and no new amnesties would be needed, suddenly he discovered an additional three years-worth of illegal immigrants in need of protection.

The bill rejected yesterday changed the cut-off date yet again, to June 15, 2012—a full five years after President Obama’s original June 15, 2007 cut-off date for DACA eligibility! What exactly will stop amnesty advocates from coming back five years from now to demand amnesty for illegal immigrants who entered the country after June 15, 2017?

Absolutely nothing. Because amnesty begets more amnesty.

The bill’s proponents claim their legislation prohibits parents who brought their children into the United States illegally from receiving citizenship themselves. But this provision contains a loophole so big it would be completely ineffective in practice. The legislation bars only those parents who “knowingly” helped their children enter the U.S. illegally. The burden for proving the parent “knowingly” aided illegal entry would fall on the U.S. government, so unless the parent admitted to the illegal act, the provision would not stop anyone from gaining citizenship. Additionally, the wording of the provision would protect parents who brought their children to the country on a valid visa but then kept them here illegally once the visa expired.

The bill also would direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to prioritize the removal of illegal immigrants who enter the United States after June 30, 2018. Although this provision is very likely unenforceable as a matter of law, it would have encouraged additional illegal immigration over the next six months.

The “Immigration Security and Opportunity Act” would pave the way for future five-year amnesties. If it passes, people around the world will know that if they come illegally to the United States and manage to avoid deportation, eventually amnesty advocates will clamor for their protection. All future Congresses would need to do was change one date in federal law, and a new class of illegal immigrants would become citizens.