Republicans’ Orwellian doublespeak on immigration

Ira Mehlman Ira Mehlman is the media director for the Federation for American Immigration Reform.
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It’s starting to feel a lot like 1984. Not the year, but the novel. Big Brother is watching just about everyone and everything, and the language of politics is being twisted and distorted beyond anything even Orwell could have imagined.

Orwell’s glimpse of the dystopian future, in which the leaders of society engage in doublespeak, turning truth on its head every time they open their mouths, is upon us. In fact, at this very moment it is on the floor of the United States Senate, where a bill to grant amnesty to millions of illegal aliens is being sold as the antidote to amnesty for illegal aliens.

Neither party has a monopoly on political doublespeak. But, as the debate over the Gang of Eight immigration bill, S.744, heats up, pro-amnesty Republicans seem to be raising it to an art form.

Unlike the majority of their colleagues from across the aisle, most Republican members of Congress ran for office disavowing the idea of granting amnesty to illegal aliens. That would include Gang of Eight member Marco Rubio (R-FL), who, as a candidate for the Senate in 2010, argued that “earned path to citizenship” is “basically a code for amnesty.”

The bill Sen. Rubio authored is precisely that, however — unless one buys into the idea that citizenship can be “earned” by simply continuing to breathe for the next 13 years without being convicted of a serious felony. Miraculously, after just two and a half years in Washington, Sen. Rubio’s notion of what constitutes amnesty has completely changed.

In paid ads, and in just about every TV or radio interview, Rubio can be heard to utter the words, “Our current immigration system is a disaster. What we have now is de facto amnesty.” In other words, by not granting amnesty to illegal aliens, we are granting them amnesty, according to the convoluted logic of Florida’s Republican senator.

But Rubio is not the only practitioner of Orwellian amnesty doublespeak in the Republican ranks. A small sampling of what some other prominent Republicans have had to say on the topic recently bears that out:

  • “[T]he status quo isn’t working — it’s de facto amnesty.” ~ Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)
  • “Millions here illegally have de facto amnesty.” ~ Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN)
  • “I’ve got a news flash for those who want to call people names on amnesty. What we have now is de facto amnesty.” ~ Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)
  • “What we have right now is de facto amnesty — meaning there are currently 11 million immigrants living undocumented and without legal status in the United States.” ~ Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)

A cynic might even get the idea that somewhere on Capitol Hill there is a Republican talking points memo on amnesty floating around — or at least a de facto memo.

In reality, what we have right now is not de facto amnesty. What we have right now is an administration that is refusing to enforce our immigration laws and openly defying Congress’s constitutional authority over our immigration policies. What we also have is a Congress in which many members of both parties seem unwilling or unable to defend the interests of the American people or hold a rogue administration accountable.

However, rather than reining in the Obama administration’s excesses, Rubio and some other prominent Republicans have decided to ratify the president’s abuse of discretionary authority by supporting a bill that not only grants de jure amnesty to illegal aliens, but gives his administration even greater discretion to ignore immigration laws in the future.

Political doublespeak may alter some people’s perception of reality, but it cannot change reality itself. The reality is that the Gang of Eight bill would bestow immediate amnesty on some 12 million illegal aliens, and citizenship within 13 years. American taxpayers would spend trillions of dollars on social benefits for this largely low-income population. And the American labor market would be flooded with tens of millions of new permanent and temporary workers over the coming decade.

Rubio is correct about one thing: Our current immigration system is a disaster. Despite the doublespeak emanating from the Republican camp, the Gang of Eight bill is a massive illegal alien amnesty that would only make things worse.

Ira Mehlman is the media director for the Federation for American Immigration Reform.