Summary of the problem with the Huckabee Pledge
I pledge to oppose amnesty or any other special path to citizenship for the millions of foreign nationals unlawfully present in the United States.As I explained in the previous entry, this language is not satisfactory, even with the addition of Gov. Huckabee’s informal agreement with Roy Beck.
But Huckabee’s Pledge is not just unsatisfactory. It fundamentally misrepresents what amnesty means, and thus contributes to the damaging confusion on this issue which the other side constantly exploits. What amnesty means is that illegal aliens get legalized. To define amnesty as giving illegals a “special path to citizenship” leaves the possibility of legalization—permanent legal residence in the U.S., which is, of course, the main goal of the illegals and their supporters—entirely open. The fact that Huckabee in his informal agreement also says he opposes giving “legal status” to illegals, while very important and welcome, does not clear up the fundamental confusion created by his Pledge which defines amnesty as a special path to citizenship.
As the literary critic Irving Babbitt once wrote, the first duty of leadership is to define one’s terms so that words correspond with things. Otherwise people may think that they are bound for the promised land when in reality they are only swimming in a sea of conceit. It is essential that the public understand that amnesty is the legalization of illegal aliens. If the public is led to believe that amnesty only means giving illegals citizenship, then the open borders forces are enabled to claim piously that they oppose amnesty, even as they keep pushing for the legalization of all illegals. Which of course is what John McCain, Hillary Clinton, and many others are doing right now.