What Republicans Mean When They Say Amnesty: Only Immigration Hard-Liners Have a Clear Definition.
Some of the top legislators who frequently use the term can’t actually explain what amnesty is. I spent the past few days asking Republican senators what they meant when they referred to amnesty in terms of immigration policy. The answers I got were intriguing. That’s because while Republican congressional leaders are always eager to discuss their opposition to this vague, amorphous concept, many of them are downright befuddled when asked to explain what that concept looks like in real life. Their responses ranged from straightforward to nonsensical.
I might have to give Sen. Flake the benefit of the doubt going forward. He sounds downright reasonable, at least on his definition of amnesty.
Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake has a simpler position: He doesn’t use the term.
“It’s kind of a fungible definition,” he said. “Some people say anything short of deportation, and others if they pay back taxes or they pay a time, or a waiting period, then it’s not. My definition of amnesty is an unconditional pardon for a breach of law, and really, nothing that’s been proposed by anybody qualifies for that.”