While we’re at it, we should call legalization what it is — amnesty. The definition of amnesty in Black’s Law Dictionary would include legalization: “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.” Whether the illegal immigrants pay a fine or back taxes (which is not enforceable) is irrelevant to the definition of amnesty.
Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, is the former chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and its Immigration Subcommittee. He continues to serve on both.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.