No, America Does Not Have “De Facto Amnesty”

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


The most bizarre argument that advocates of amnesty are making is that we have “de facto amnesty” now. The argument goes that since we have de facto amnesty now, we should just have the real thing and get it over with.

Marco Rubio and Rand Paul have gone around repeating it.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) responded Thursday to critics on the right who say the immigration reform he supports will be catastrophic to the Republican Party and, more importantly, the country.

“I’ve got a news flash for those who want to call people names on amnesty: What we have now is de facto amnesty,” he said during an appearance on Fox News.

Sen. Paul’s comments were prompted by Fox anchor Bill Hemmer saying said that the Republican senator’s immigration speech on Tuesday has made him a “ripe target” for conservative critics, including Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter.

A lack of proper enforcement is not de facto amnesty. Amnesty is legalization. What Rubio and Rand Paul call de facto amnesty is the difference between not arresting a drug dealer and legalizing heroin.

There’s a big difference between not fully enforcing the law and legalizing a crime.

It’s a huge difference. The most obvious issue is financial. Legalizing 11 million illegal aliens from populations that are heavily dependent on government services will add a lot of money to the deficit and the national debt, it will further overburden Medicare and Medicaid and add millions of voters who will vote to protect their entitlements.

If you’re going to bend on amnesty, then you might as well go all the way and bend on entitlements spending.

What is really strange about Rand Paul making the de facto amnesty argument is that unlike Rubio he doesn’t even support employment enforcement. All he supports is border enforcement which is not going to do anything about illegal aliens in the country.

Rubio can at least argue that the Gang of 8 proposal will keep illegal aliens from being able to work and either force them to legalize or leave. Rand Paul can’t make that argument. So his de facto amnesty claim is gibberish.

Rubio’s de facto amnesty claim is based on the idea that his immigration reform proposal will end the employment of illegals. Rand Paul can’t make that argument so he can’t even argue de facto amnesty. His only proposal is to legalize the illegal aliens in the country with no penalties for the supposed de facto amnesty employers.

Rubio’s de facto amnesty argument was dishonest, but Rand Paul’s doesn’t even make any sense.

  • cynthia curran

    Republicans support e-verify that the only thing which will take jobs away from millions of illegal immirgants. Take the job magnet. Republicans listen too much to big-agi which doesn't like the current guestworker program.

  • cynthia curran

    Think if congress could forece e-verify a million in California and Texas would leave and a half million New York and Florida would leave. Also, Republicans need to take on the Hispanic groups that are forcing cities to allow day labors to solict there work.

  • Kaphen DePriest

    Daniel Greenfield doesn't know the definition of Amnesty. Amnesty does NOT legalize a crime. Rather it forgives past violations. Judging by how we currently deal with the issue, it strikes me a lot like de facto amnesty.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      We haven't forgiven anything. We're not fully enforcing the law.

    • Brian

      The proponents of Comprehensive Immigration Reform which is Amnesty define it as instant legalization. The phrase De facto Amnesty implies the illegal aliens are legal already, which simply is not the case. Rand Paul sounds like he really doesnt understand the issue.

  • http://twitter.com/LDommel @LDommel

    Delete my comment that had nothing but facts in no swearing! If you don't think the way they do, they take away your first amendment rights. Taxpayers can not afford this, not all of them have jobs

  • http://twitter.com/LDommel @LDommel

    These people will be unionized. Senator Warren is throwing the crumbs out now with minimum wage. Next victims. All these people don't have jobs & taxpayers will be helping out. Where is the Dem's environmentalist about R resources. Where R these Dem's human right hiding their eyes to the sex trafficking across the borders. Where are the black, who can't seem 2 think 4 themselves. Open border policies, amnesty & releasing illegal criminal directly effect their inner cities communities negatively. Yet they all follow like sheep. This is a direct problem of the United States Gov't not upholding our laws equally but giving special treatment & breaking our laws! Uphold our laws is the big problem here & this is not solving that. You can hide from that as much as you want but will continue until that happens.

  • John Bowman

    Rand Paul is worse than Obama on immigration, he stated: “If you wish to work, if you wish to live and work in America, then we will find a place for you,” Paul said in an address to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce,

    Well guess what Rand 700 million foreigners would like to live and work in the USA http://www.gallup.com/poll/124028/700-Million-Wor

    If they all move here like Rand apparently supports then the USA will have a Bangladesh life quality and Yugoslavia type civil war.