Within minutes of the Associated Press calling last night's North Carolina 2nd Congressional District primary for Rep. Renee Ellmers, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg's pro-amnesty group, FWD.us, congratulated her on both its Facebook page and on Twitter. FWD.us called the election results a "clear sign voters are ready for immigration reform" after dumping a six-figure ad buy into her district to help her win the primary. The ads, however, claimed she opposes amnesty, but FWD.us' vision of "immigration reform" clearly includes amnesty for the nation's 11-18 million illegal aliens.
Despite throwing around the ambiguous term "immigration reform", FWD.us defines it on its website. In addition to the typical tongue-in-cheek talking points we hear from pro-amnesty groups -- securing the border, workplace verification, and strengthening the economy -- FWD.us includes a pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens:
Create a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States that do not have legal status.
The television ad that FWD.us (under the pseudonym Americans for a Conservative Direction) was running in Ellmers' district stated, "[she's] working hard to secure the border and fix our broken immigration system once and for all. No amnesty, period." But how can Renee Ellmers oppose amnesty when she's receiving a significant amount of help from a group that's pro-amnesty?
As CNN political correspondent Peter Hamby noted in his "5 takeaways from election night", "Rep. Renee Ellmers is a rare specimen: A House Republican who backs immigration reform, including a path to legalization for undocumented immigrants. She calls it 'an earned legal work status.' Conservatives, of course, call it 'amnesty.'"
Conservatives aren't the only ones who call it amnesty. We call it amnesty, too.
The Black's Law Dictionary definition for amnesty is: "The act of a sovereign power officially forgiving certain classes of persons who are subject to trial but have not yet been convicted." It even lists the 1986 mass amnesty, which included a background check and fines for illegal aliens, as THE example.
The penalty for entering the country illegally is removal, fines and/or jail time, and a 3-year/10-year bar from re-entering the United States based on how long the individual has been in the country illegally. Under the "immigration reform" supported by FWD.us, an illegal alien who entered the country illegally would avoid jail time, removal, and the bar from re-entry. In exchange, they would have to pay a fine and go through a background check. In other words, they'd have to go through almost the same process that legal immigrants need to do when applying for a green card.
The most significant difference between what Renee Ellmers supports and the current legal immigration process is that illegal aliens would avoid trial and conviction for illegal entry. That's nearly the word-for-word definition of amnesty according to Black's Law Dictionary. Rep. Ellmers, along with House GOP Leaders and FWD.us, are free to call their version of "immigration reform" whatever they want, but at the end of the day, it's amnesty.
Since Ellmers raised more than 18 times the money that her anti-amnesty challenger Frank Roche raised, is a two-term incumbent with better name recognition, and had the backing of the GOP establishment, it's tough to say that FWD.us' support, and her support for "immigration reform", proved to be the difference in the race. But what's not tough to prove is that Renee Ellmers supports amnesty, despite what the ads said about her.
CHRIS CHMIELENSKI is the Director of Content & Activism for NumbersUSA