McCain Misleads with Claims of Requirements

“Over 70 percent of the people in Arizona and this country when asked the question: do you believe there should be a path to citizenship for people who pay back taxes [and] learn English . . . support [this proposal].” – Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), reported by 8/25/13

Fact Check: McCain is referring to supposed provisions in the Senate amnesty bill he helped to write. Supporters of the legislation have manipulated public opinion polls to favor amnesty and a path to citizenship for illegal aliens with these claims. Unfortunately, the media have generally failed to report that their claims are misleading, and—in large part—untrue.

The bill does require that amnesty applicants pay taxes “assessed” by the IRS. But this only covers unpaid taxes that can be documented. The requirement will not cover illegal aliens, probably the majority of them, who have worked off the books or who have used false identities.

As for learning English, the bill only requires study “to achieve an understanding of English.” It does not require any standard of proficiency.

And it’s important to note that there is really no guarantee that whatever requirements there are for amnesty applicants will be effectively enforced. The 1986 amnesty for illegal aliens involved massive fraud because our immigration service lacked the manpower and resources to provide adequate screening of the nearly three million illegal aliens who gained legal status.

Today, with amnesty proposed for eleven million illegal aliens, we are no better equipped to deal with the challenge. Kenneth Palinkas, who heads the union representing employees of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), testified before the House that the agency is “ill-equipped” to handle the flood of applications that amnesty would bring.

 Citizens, therefore, should pay no heed to alleged requirements for illegal aliens who seek amnesty. They are little more than empty rhetoric, and in many cases—most probably—rhetoric designed to deceive.


  1. I have all the respect for Senator McCain for the horrific treatment he faced for all those years as a POW in the Hanoi Hilton in north Vietnam. I really have difficulty trying to figure out why he, the Senate Gang of Eight, and other politicians want to spin a web of half-truths about any proposed ‘Comprehensive Immigration Reform’ contemplated by Congress. Does he not remember how Reagan was snookered by Congress with a 1980’s version of a ‘Comprehensive Immigtation Reform’ package that included amnesty prior to securing the borders? Sounds familiar, huh?


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