Is Rep. Omar right to demand amnesty for illegal immigrants?


Fact Box

  • Ilhan Omar is a Representative for Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District, and is the “first Somali-American Member of Congress and the first woman of color to represent Minnesota.”
  • Amnesty” is defined as the act of an authority by which pardon is granted to a large group of individuals. 
  • On September 19, 2021, in response to Senate’s parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough’s ruling that Biden’s $3.5 trillion bill cannot be used towards immigration amnesty expenses (as it would raise the deficit by an estimated $140 billion over 10 years), Rep. Omar tweeted, “This ruling by the parliamentarian, is only a recommendation. @SenSchumer and the @WhiteHouse can and should ignore it. We can’t miss this once in a lifetime opportunity to do the right thing.”
  • US Customs and Border Protection reported the number of migrant apprehensions reached a 21-year-record high of over 200,000 in July 2021 (a 420% increase from July 2020). August has seen similar numbers of almost 209,000 (a 317% increase from August 2020), a Department of Homeland Security reported.

Andrew (Yes)

The United States has a significant problem at the southern border, but it isn't the fact that desperate migrants keep arriving. The problem at our southern border is our broken immigration system that treats immigrants as criminals rather than human souls simply looking for a better life. The fastest way to solve this crisis would be to grant amnesty to many of these immigrants, as representative Omar has suggested. This would allow these individuals to be processed, settled, and begin working and contributing to society. The tired trope of the lazy immigrant draining off tax dollars is not only offensive but just plain wrong. Most people are coming to the United States for opportunities. Why should we put up barriers to those who want to work, start businesses, and contribute to our melting pot? It makes even more sense to streamline a path to residency, considering our current labor shortage. Why not get these hardworking individuals into some of those empty jobs?

Fundamentally, Representative Omar's position on amnesty for illegal immigrants comes down to compassion. These individuals have undertaken enormous risks on their long and frequently dangerous journeys simply for a chance at a better life. No one would put themselves or their families, frequently including young children, through such harrowing struggles unless there truly was no other option. Many of these people are fleeing extreme gang violence, impossibly desperate economic situations, and other life-threatening situations. America can not only absorb these humans but would be better off for having them.

Veronica (No)

A budget reconciliation bill can pass with a simple majority, but anything contained in the bill must have a direct budgetary impact and not increase the deficit. Amnesty does not fill either requirement. Democrat Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar and others are trying to insert amnesty into the budget to avoid the possibility of debate and filibuster, thus circumventing the normal democratic process. If amnesty cannot pass on its own, it's a sign that America is not in favor of the measure. 

Amnesty would cost at least an additional $105 billion on top of the $3.5 trillion budget package. The influx of 8 million people would hugely burden the economy and weigh down services like education, welfare, social security, and others. Additionally, this is unlikely to stop at 8 million. We already have immigrants swarming over the southern border, and granting mass amnesty will only increase the number of people trying to get here. 

Unfettered immigration hurts working-class Americans. If millions of immigrants receive amnesty, they will undercut the job market, taking labor from minimum wage American workers who are already struggling to find work and fill jobs. In favor of immigration amnesty are groups like that run by Gates and Zuckerburg, whose companies would undoubtedly benefit from increasing cheap labor. It's telling that only 19 of the Congressional Black Caucus's 56 members signed a letter in support of amnesty since their constituents would likely be hit hardest by immigrants flooding the job market. Its simple supply and demand; when the supply of workers increases, their price (wage) decreases. Amnesty would be devastating for American workers and our economy and would ultimately hurt immigrants as well.

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