Fast Facts
  • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protective Status (TPS) are not amnesties in the strict legal sense of the word. Rather, they temporarily defer eventual deportation due to extenuating circumstances.
  • In November 2016, the Heritage Foundation estimated that an amnesty would require an immediate tax increase of $1.29 trillion to finance the infrastructure, school, welfare, and other public costs associated with illegal aliens.
  • Granting amnesty could result in criminal aliens avoiding deportation.
  • A 2007 Heritage Foundation study estimated that amnesty would cost American taxpayers $2.6 trillion.
Why Amnesty Is A Bad Idea

In the context of immigration, amnesty is usually understood as the granting of legal status to a foreign national who illegally entered the United States or illegally overstayed their work or travel visa. Amnesty is a problem for many reasons, most notably because it undermines the rule of law by condoning unlawful behavior and encouraging more aliens to attempt to break the law. The granting of amnesty inevitably fosters the hopes of illegal immigrants that they can attain a future amnesty.

History has shown the perils of granting amnesty. In 1986, President Ronald Reagan signed the Simpson-Mazzoli Act, which granted amnesty to nearly 3 million illegal aliens. It opened a door that politicians since then have failed to close. The evidence is that the number of illegal aliens in the United States has continued to grow, reaching approximately 14.3 million in 2019.

Most recently, lawmakers in states and at the federal level have introduced successive reincarnations (2001 and 2013) of the DREAM Act, which would grant amnesty to the children of illegal aliens and eventually to their parents. Unable to achieve their legislative aims or to garner public support, activists persuaded President Obama to foist a smaller, deferred semi-amnesty (DACA) upon the country in 2012. DACA remains controversial and is a subject of current examination by the Supreme Court.

We can be reasonably sure that the ever-persistent open-borders, pro-mass-migration lobby will undoubtedly push more amnesties in the future. FAIR is here to match their determination and help oppose and defeat such harmful proposals.