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Pop Quiz! What’s Amnesty?

Please answer the following.

Amnesty is:

A) Something you pay a penalty to get that may or may not include paying back taxes and learning English.

B) A "leg up" to citizenship.

C) Granting legal status to illegal aliens without first making them return to their home country.

If you answered A you are the President.

If you answered B you are Majority Leader Bill Frist.

If you answered C you are a principled conservative.

If you declined to answer, you represent the rest of the Senate.

Majority Leader Bill Frist told reporters today that in the short weeks ahead before Memorial recess, it was “important for us to spend the time on the floor to educate ourselves as 100 United States senators, to help educate the American people…what can be done in the short-term, mid-term and long-term” regarding immigration reform.

Rather than permitting senators use the floor to “educate each other and the people” conservatives must keep reminding them of the definition of amnesty.

When asked by a reporter if Frist would support a bill to grant citizenships to illegal aliens without making them first leave the country Frist said, “Yes, well—I’ll tell you, the answer is yes. I would stop short of amnesty.”

This sort of double-speak was demonstrated by the President who defined amnesty last night as an “automatic path to citizenship.” According to the President, if an immigrant pays a “meaningful penalty” for illegally crossing the border and gains legal status, no amnesty has been granted.

Frist said his definition of amnesty is “someone who has broken the law is given a leg up in some way to citizenship. And that’s my definition. Everybody’s definition—that’s why I try to even avoid the word is going to be different.”

This is the core problem of the entire debate. The word “amnesty” has been manipulated so that everyone can appear to be against it. Those who will grant amnesty cannot be permitted to claim they are against it to deceive the conservative base that demands more than a moderate, politically correct, right of center approach.

So what is amnesty? The editors of Human Events have consistently defined amnesty as any grant of legal status without making illegal immigrants first return to their home countries.

The President, the Majority Leader and our own publication have readily given three very different definitions of amnesty and yet all three will claim to be adamantly against it.

Frist was eager to “put the word amnesty aside” and grant favored treatment to those who have broken immigration laws the longest. He said, “If you put the word amnesty aside, I do think people who have been eight, nine, 10 or 11 years, you should be able to sit down with them and say, There’s going to be a six-year probationary period where you pay taxes where you learn English, you pay back taxes, that you have a job. And then at the end of that six years, you would be eligible for another five years for a green card. And after that you are eligible — you don’t automatically get it, you are eligible to be considered for a citizenship.”

If you “put the word amnesty aside” there is no debate. There are no problems because everyone will be against it, including illegal aliens themselves. But Republicans (not conservatives) have “put the word amnesty aside” over and over again hijacking its definition to manipulate it in such a way even Teddy Kennedy can say he’s against it and if that doesn’t make the American people draw a blank, I don’t know what will.

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Written By

Miss Carpenter was formerly a congressional correspondent & assistant editor for HUMAN EVENTS. She is the author of "The Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy's Dossier on Hillary Rodham Clinton," published by Regnery (a HUMAN EVENTS sister company).

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