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Amnesty: Who is The Fool?

By: Elvira B. Medina

Millions of illegal immigrants live and work in the U.S. Their numbers continue to grow
each year. The ramification on safety and economic stability are enormous. Nevertheless,
neither Republicans nor Democrats can claim an easy answer to this complex problem.
Still, in one form or another, amnesty seems to eventually raise its head as the practical
solution. In the last decade several amnesties have attempted to create a clean state.
Instead, more illegal aliens keep coming and those unfortunate souls who decided to play
by the rules find them asking themselves who is the fool? -- the illegal who risked
capture or those who abided by a system with no guarantee of success?
As the 2016 Presidential election process begins, inevitably we will hear much discussion
about illegal immigration. Many would-be vote getters will claim that amnesty offers a
practical solution to an issue too large to handle any other way. Or some will suggest that
it is essential for the economy. But is this the case? Considering each broad based
amnesty has failed to curtail the problem, it may be time to reconsider the pragmatic
nature of amnesty. Indeed, by declaring amnesty, there is much less need for deportation.
As history has shown, the issue is not merely the newly granted citizen, but the relatives
who now have more incentive to be reunited. And so, instead of curtailing the influx of
illegal immigration, amnesty actually encourages more of the same. This is tantamount
to declaring bankruptcy because of excessive credit card debt but not curtailing ones
spending thereafter. Is it not the joke on the citizens of a government that professes to
offer a practical solution while exacerbating the problem at the same time?

To be anti-amnesty is not to be anti-immigrant. On the contrary, to be against amnesty is

to protect those who have elected to follow the rule of law and have made the effort and
gone to the expense of following a procedure that attempts to, at least to some degree,
treat individual immigrants similarly. These are individuals who by their very actions are
stating that they are willing and eager to participate in the U.S. rules of conduct. Clearly,
these decent people should be rewarded for their responsibility. However, it is these very
immigrants who we chose to punish with amnesty programs. Ironically, many of these
potential immigrants did not get the benefits of illegal activity because they were waiting
their turn when amnesty was declared. Are we not making a fool out of these lawabiding aspirants? Or is it the very rule of law that we are mocking?

Finally, immigration stirs deep humanitarian concerns no doubt. For example, amnesty
proponents are quick to point out that much illegal immigration is due to people desiring
to live a better live and provide for their families. Indeed, there are many who advocate
the right for illegal aliens to be protected based on humanitarian concerns (Decosse,
2010, p.61). A reasonable person cannot question veracity of this statement. However,
the irony of this humanitarian ethos is it seems to overlook other people who are hurt and
have similar needs. Surely, an illegal immigrant will not take the job of a lawyer, doctor
or politician. More than likely, the opportunity cost will fall on the poorest and most
needed in American society. It is as if a hungry American is not hurting as much as a
hungry illegal alien or an unemployed citizen is better positioned than an unemployed
alien. Without a doubt, illegal aliens have real and critical needs. However, amnesty
should not be the excuse to displace one problem for the next. Do we not humiliate the
neediest in our society today by placing the greatest economic burdens that Amnesty
promotes upon them? According to Simcoxs Measuring the Fallout, a review of the
evidence a decade later confirms that legalization indeed carried a high fiscal price tag
a total 10-year cost of $78.7 billion with the indirect and downstream costs still
accumulating (Simcox, 1997, n.p.).

Illegal immigration presents a difficult problem that requires very tough decisions, a
commitment to enforcement and clear rules. But amnesty programs ability to deem
people legal while ignoring the consequence and the continuing harm is anything but
funny. We must not ignore the failings of amnesty if we are to curtail the problem. We
must accept that the old amnesty tool in our toolbox has failed and we worse for it. To
this end, it may be best for use to consider the words of William Shakespeare The fool
doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.

DeCosse, D. (2010). Ethical considerations support amnesty for illegal immigrants.
In N. Merino (Ed.), What rights should illegal immigrants have? (pp. 59-64).
Farmington Hills, MI: Greenhaven Press.
Simcox, D. (1997, May). Measuring the Fallout. The Cost of the IRCA
Amnesty After
10 yrs. Center for Immmigration Studies. Retrieved May 3, 2015,
Greenfield, D. (2013). Will Amnestied Illegal Aliens Bankrupt New Jersey and
California? Frontpage Mag. Retrieved May 3, 2015, from
Retrieved May 3, 2015, from