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Translating the Code Words of "Comprehensive Immigration Reform"

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

In the wake of Arizona’s new laws, the illegal alien special interests are working overtime making their last ditch pitch for amnesty before mid-terms elections, robotically reciting how they want to “fix” our immigration problems:

“We need to fix our broken immigration system. We need a path to citizenship for undocumented workers so they can go to the back of the line, get right with the law, and implement an orderly flow of needed workers, and a policy which secures the borders.” 

For those in the know, of course, it’s all nonsense - word play and empty promises:

Rush Limbaugh

Fix A Broken System: When they say the system is broken they actually mean illegal aliens face deportation, and that America is not admitting enough legal immigrants fast enough. The fact is illegal aliens aren’t supposed to be in the United States - by definition they do not have legal status. As regards our level of legal immigration, America currently allows in more than one million people a year, more than any other industrialized country on the planet.

The bottom line is that the only thing broken about our immigration system is an unwillingness to impose sensible limitations and enforce the laws.  Truth in labeling might suggest that their version of “fixing a broken system” should be read as “making a broken system worse.”

Path to Citizenship: Euphemisms for amnesty wear thin quickly so the new phrase “path to citizenship” has entered the lexicon. We already have a “path to citizenship” and it starts with applying for a green card and getting in line. 

Go to the Back of the Line:  To most people, going to the back of the line would mean returning home, filling out the necessary forms, and then waiting for a reply.  What amnesty advocates mean by going to the back of the line is that we create a brand new line for those who have broken the law right here in this country. 

Get Right with the Law:  This phrase suggests that administratively converting 13 million people from illegal status to legal status “gets them right with the law.” Accommodating law-breaking by simply rewriting the rules to fit the circumstances is one of the most insidious aspects of amnesty.

Undocumented Workers: Given the huge sums of money the special interests have, one would assume their high-paid consultants would have told them that this euphemism expired years ago.  We all know it means illegal aliens, but amnesty advocates believe that using the adjective “undocumented” magically erases the illegality, while claiming they are “workers” suggests all are gainfully employed, which they’re often not.  The proper reference is “illegal aliens.”  “Illegal” means prohibited by law.  Yes, entry without inspection into the U.S is prohibited.  And “alien” is a term defined in 8 U.S.C. Section 1101 and used by legal professionals across the board including the United States Supreme Court.  It’s ok to say illegal aliens. You’ll be in good company.

Orderly Flow of Workers: This is a phrase that by its own definition assumes we actually need more workers. It refers to our foreign guest worker program.  In addition to the 1.2 million legal immigrants the U.S. admits each year, and the 13 million illegal aliens currently living here, the U.S. also brings in another one million foreign nationals through work visas year after year. With a national unemployment rate of 9.9 percent, any endorsement of our massive foreign guest worker flow, or a suggestion that we should increase it, should be challenged on the grounds that it is imposing unfair competition for scarce jobs. Instead of “orderly flow of workers” the proper translation is “more foreign labor to take your job.”

Secure the Border: They save the biggest and boldest claim for last. Amnesty advocates promise to secure the border for no other reason than to make their plans for massive amnesty more palatable. The special interests don’t mean it and they don’t want to do it. After all, they have stymied every single piece of immigration enforcement legislation in recent years and relentlessly pressured the Obama administration to systematically dismantle most existing immigration enforcement.  

There is immigration enforcement and then there is amnesty.  One has nothing to do with the other. Revealing the motives of the illegal alien lobby is an ongoing responsibility because as Burke said, “a very great part of the mischiefs that vex this world arise from words.”  

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