Last week at a National Association of Manufacturers meeting, House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan boldly challenged anyone to debate him on whether S. 744 is amnesty or, as he likes to put it, earned legalization. Ryan insisted that S. 744 is “not amnesty” because “amnesty means wiping the slate clean and not paying any penalty for having done something wrong." [Paul Ryan: 'I will debate anybody who says immigration bill is 'amnesty,' by Chris Moody, Yahoo News, June 12, 2013]
Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS) immediately accepted Ryan’s offer. Telephone calls were placed to Ryan's Washington D.C. office. CAPS also used regular U.S. mail and emails to notify Ryan that it accepts his offer and that we will travel to any location he designates to debate him. Through Friday, Ryan has not replied.
In a press release, CAPS Executive Director Jo Wideman said
“Clearly, the current Senate bill includes an amnesty. In fact, it’s not amnesty-lite; it’s amnesty-plus. Under a normal amnesty, the wrongdoer does not keep the stolen merchandise or other gains of the illegal behavior. When a library offers an amnesty on library fines, the library user does not get to keep the book. Under the Senate bill and other proposals, those who have broken into our country, not only are allowed to stay here, but they are also put on a path to citizenship, ahead of those who have not broken our laws.
“There are many good reasons we seldom offer amnesty to lawbreakers. A primary purpose of punishment is to deter illegal activity. It is extremely difficult to deter illegal behavior by rewarding illegal behavior. Legal status, the ability to live and work in the United States, is the very goal sought by those who decided to break our immigration laws and our labor laws. This incentive will lead to more illegal immigration.”
Ryan is operating under the false assumption that back taxes and fines may eventually be collected. However, there’s no assurance that illegal aliens will pay a single penny in taxes, fines or fees. One thing is certain: if S.744 becomes law, 11 million illegal immigrants will receive immediate legal status and work authorization. CAPS and millions of Americans define that as amnesty.