Paul Ryan: "Amnesty is Not Amnesty Because You Pay a Fine"

Paul Ryan, who has supported forms of immigration reform since he was a House staffer in the 1990s, declared that he would "debate anybody" who calls the current bipartisan effort "amnesty."


On Wednesday, Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan, who has supported forms of immigration reform since he was a House staffer in the 1990s, declared that he would "debate anybody" who calls the current bipartisan effort "amnesty."

"Earned legalization is not amnesty," Ryan said during a forum on immigration sponsored by the National Association of Manufacturers. "I will debate anybody who tries to suggest that these ideas that are moving through Congress are amnesty. They're not. Amnesty is wiping the slate clean and not paying any penalty for having done something wrong."

I think that's a fine position Paul Ryan has taken here. To be equally consistent, he should stop complaining about entitlements. After all people who get them pay something, even if they get back more than they paid, like the millions of illegal aliens that the amnesty (oops) will cover will do as shown by the Heritage Study.

Exactly what is "earned" about the amnesty? Bueller? Bueller?

If you broke the law and then reap the benefits of that law-breaking through an act of congress, that act is amnesty. It's that simple. Criminals are not allowed to benefit from their crimes. You can't break into someone's house, steal a million dollars, keep it  and then pay a hundred dollar fine.

That would be amnesty, even with the fine.

Earlier this year, Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul warned lawmakers not to trip over loaded phrases like "pathway to citizenship" and "amnesty" to describe the effort to overhaul immigration. Doing so, Paul said, would polarize the debate over reform

Is there a path to citizenship or isn't there? It's that simple.

Obama's people didn't want any references to nationalizing health care because that would be polarizing. But polarizing doesn't matter. True or false does.

People who complain about polarizing rhetoric want to stem public outrage over a sellout.

Ryan pointed to provisions baked into the Senate bill from the beginning that require those in the United States to pay a fine, back taxes, undergo background checks and enter a years-long probationary period before earning citizenship, a process that can take up to 15 years.

"That," Ryan said, "is not amnesty."

1. The back taxes provision is meaningless. It's been meaningless for a while. Ryan knows it.

Negotiators had to choose between a hard-line approach favored by Republicans, like Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), that would have required immigrants and employers to painstakingly piece together a tax history so the government could collect what is owed and a less burdensome option of focusing on people who already have a past-due bill with the Internal Revenue Service.

They chose the milder approach and punted the details to the Treasury Department and IRS to hash out down the road.

2. The fine is a thousand dollars. It won't even cover their first Earned Income Credit refund. It's cheaper than the full cost of legally immigrating to the country. If that's a fine, so is a visa application.

3. The background checks will be administered by the same administration that failed to conduct background checks of its DREAMers.

4. The probationary period is in flux and will be made as short as possible once the actual bill is passed due to the powers granted by it to Janet Napolitano.

But if Paul Ryan wants to debate someone on the meaning of "amnesty" or "is", I'm sure Mickey Kaus will be happy to take him up on it.

Still if Paul Ryan supported "immigration reform", yet failed to win the Latino vote on the ticket, doesn't this suggest the entire quest for amnesty as Republican  catnip for Latinos is doomed?