Amnesty Betrayals Past And Present —A Handy Reference Guide
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Amnesty: n. a decision by a government to forgive people who have committed particular illegal acts or crimes.
Cambridge Dictionary of American English

As the Republican National Convention gets underway in New York City, the quest by Congressman Tom Tancredo to "stop amnesty" in the GOP and "raise hell" if thwarted bears watching.

But the threat of "amnesty" is not something that can be blocked just by defeating one heinous bill in Congress. The President doesn't really need something as public as an executive order to give illegal alien amnesty either—because amnesty is already underway in many forms.

The Eisenhower Administration's successful illegal alien round-ups under the Immigration Act of 1952 were America's last experience of real immigration law enforcement. Since that time, rewarding illegal aliens for their lawbreaking has become a central theme of federal immigration policy.

Notwithstanding Ike's heroic after-the-fact efforts at border control, the reality since World War II is that there never really was any physical control of our borders in the first place.

The difference now is that in the wake of America's first across-the-board amnesty in 1986—the ridiculously-named "Immigration Reform and Control Act" (IRCA)—illegal aliens have been arriving at an even faster rate.

And eighteen years after IRCA, the rate of increase in illegal immigration is intolerable even by pre-1986 standards.

Through the years there has been one constant in America's immigration law – de facto amnesty . . . before, during and after IRCA. It's now simply undeniable that the legalization of millions of lawbreakers in 1986 did nothing to stem the tide.

Lax enforcement, pointless bureaucratic systems, and Treason Lobby appeasement has been the reality of American immigration policy even long before the Clinton administration installed that champion of immigration non-enforcement, Doris Meissner, as Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) Commissioner.

And yes, Virginia, as I've written before, the Immigration Act as presently constituted (post-1965) amounts to a permanent amnesty for illegal aliens and criminal alien residents.

There's a huge federal immigration bureaucracy in place to implement it too. The culprits are the obscure U.S. Immigration Court system and Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) in the Department of Justice's Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), aided and abetted by the three-headed immigration monster of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Remember . . . when it comes to the federal government, things can always get worse.

As long as the idea of a one-time amnesty free-for-all remains overwhelmingly unpopular with the American people—as it should be—the federal immigration bureaucracy look for ways to give more legal status to more illegal aliens more often . . . all behind closed doors.

DHS now has a separate "service" division called Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) under the direction of former international banker Eduardo Aguirre. This separate agency dedicated to helping illegal aliens with all of their customer service needs consolidates all of the traditionally alien-friendly INS "service" operations under one roof . . . with no apparent law enforcement supervision.

The General Accounting Office (GAO) has already reported that it could not determine the full extent of immigration benefit fraud in the former consolidated INS. Who will be watching for immigration benefit fraud at Aguirre's USCIS . . . when they have their own agency all to themselves?

The USCIS is the same agency that boasts a corps of asylum officers with a record of finding that 97 percent of asylum applicants have the required "credible fear" of persecution back home, and immigration examiners, now called District Adjudications Officers (DAOs), whose "grant" stamps are at the ready, while their "denial" stamps are under lock and key as a matter of policy.

The USCIS also carries on the legacy of former INS managers who granted an untold number of fraudulent agricultural amnesty applications, overruling the decisions of the agency's own front-line interviewers. These nameless and faceless bureaucrats have never been accountable for their crimes—as I've reported, the 1986 amnesty fraud evidence is disbursed among millions of files concealed under red covers, supposedly to protect the aliens' privacy.

So who is going to stop the next clandestine amnesty at USCIS?

Or more importantly, if no one is talking, who would even know the extent of immigration benefit fraud, or bureaucratic laziness (in granting applications) at the new USCIS candy store?

The moral of the story: IRCA 1986 wasn't the end of amnesty, it was just the beginning. As far as rewarding illegal aliens goes, we possibly ain't seen' nothin' yet!

Given the nature of the federal immigration bureaucracy – with its tendency to expand the give-away programs and ignore law enforcement provisions passed by Congress – there really are several different types of lawbreaking reward programs now underway. The reality is even more sinister than a publicized one-time, massive Green Card give-away.

I offer the following summary of the six types of amnesty in current federal immigration policy, along with the statutes and regulations. Read 'em and weep . . . for America.

  • Letting illegal aliens in—institutionalizing the home-free-once-past-the-border areas policy (artificial restrictions on Section 235(b) authority); releasing the ones already caught from immigration custody; not retrieving them with interior immigration enforcement.


  • Not deporting any illegal aliens who can adjust status through family or employment petitioning in the future— Various schemes of 245(i); LIFE Act; Child Status Protection Act (age out of visa categories doesn't matter); various waivers; and even allowing illegal aliens convicted of the most serious crimes in the Immigration Act – aggravated felonies – to adjust their status through a family member anyhow and get a "green card."


  • Giving Green Cards [permanent resident status] to illegal aliens already in the U.S. without even bothering with the family petitioning process – There are many flavors of illegal alien amnesty built into Section 240A(b), including giving Green Cards to illegal aliens based on their ability to avoid detection in the U.S. for over ten years and to procreate (that is, produce a birthright citizen child or "jackpot baby"), or have a spouse or parent who is a U.S. citizen or an LPR. This section lf law also gives Green Cards to illegal aliens who are battered spouses, battered children, parents of battered children, and children of battered parents. Rampant fraud is the order of the day here, since all anyone need to do to get a Green Card under this section is accuse a spouse of abuse. Section 240A(b)(1, 2 and 3) And there's always "Plan B" – using the same type of accusation in the normal family petitioning process.


  • Handing out green cards abroad, at ports of entry, and at DHS service centers through the refugee and asylum process – The poor man's visa for anyone in the world to adjust status and become a permanent resident alien. Though they got a Green Card because of supposedly fearing persecution in their home country, the precious document allows them unlimited travel back-and-forth to their homeland, as well as giving access to spouse/ parent/child/ brother/ sister "family chain" petitioning for the entire clan. Come on down!


  • The Visa lottery— It's just like winning a Green Card and U.S. citizenship at the craps table. [PDF]


  • And the kicker: allowing convicted criminal aliens to keep their Green Cards (or even get new green cards) in spite of being deportable for their crimes – thieves, robbers, burglars, drug offenders, drunk drivers, firearms violators, assorted gang-bangers, alien smugglers and drug smugglers can keep their Green Cards under the "second chance" provision for criminals already in place under Section 240A(a) of the Immigration Act.

This last freebie under Section 240A(a) doesn't apply to aliens convicted of crimes considered to be an "aggravated felony" (the most serious crimes). But amazingly enough, immigration law favors illegal aliens who have been convicted of certain aggravated felonies, because they can still apply for a green card through the family petitioning process despite having been convicted of the same crime that could deport any current green card holder. (See second item)

Also as a public service to readers, I offer the following reference guide and legal analysis of the amnesties past and present.

The Coming Betrayal (Unless We Do Something)






The Mother of All Betrayals—1986 IRCA Amnesty





Juan Mann [send him email] is a lawyer and the proprietor of

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