Amnesty Defined

Floor Speech

By:  Lamar Smith
Date: April 18, 2013
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Speaker, there is much discussion these days about immigration and what amnesty means. But the definition is clear.

In Black's Law Dictionary, "A pardon extended by the government to a group or class of persons. The 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act provided amnesty for undocumented aliens already present in the country.''

That's exactly what the Senate immigration bill does.

And from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, amnesty is ``The act of an authority (as a government) by which pardon is granted to a large group of individuals.''

Again, that's exactly what the Senate immigration bill does.

You could say that the Senate immigration bill amounts to amnesty-plus, since illegal immigrants are pardoned, plus are allowed to become citizens.