Opinion

5 myths about amnesty for illegal immigrants in Senate bill

Under a bipartisan Senate immigration bill, immigrants who have come to the United States illegally are given a "path to citizenship." On close inspection, each of the following five claims about the requirements for illegal immigrants to earn amnesty are not what they seem.

By , Op-ed contributor, May 13, 2013

3. They must pass a background check

History suggests that the government does not have the capacity to carefully vet those who apply for amnesty. The 1986 amnesty resulted in the rubber stamping of hundreds of thousands of fraudulent applications. It also gave legal status to an illegal immigrant who would become the ringleader of the 1993 World Trade Center attack; his new status allowed him to travel freely around the world and pick up terrorist training. Certainly not all illegal immigrants are terrorists, but the government’s track record on keeping problematic individuals out of the country is not trouble-free.

Additionally, under the current Senate bill, crimes like identity theft and vandalism are not considered serious enough to deny a person amnesty, despite the fact that such crimes create real victims. In fact, two misdemeanors on an applicant’s rap sheet do not result in legal status being denied; and under the bill multiple misdemeanors could be counted as “one” strike, provided they occur on the same day. And any problematic history an illegal immigrant has in his home country is unlikely to be uncovered.

While illegal immigrants who have their amnesty applications rejected should be fast-tracked for deportation, history shows us that rejected applicants remain in the US, even if they pose a risk. Amnesties do not constitute a benefit to public safety.

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