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December 3, 2010


Definition of Amnesty:

Amnesty is sovereign act of forgiveness for past acts, granted by a government to all persons (or to certain classes of persons) who have been guilty of crime, or delict, generally political offenses, - treason, sedition, rebellion, draft evasion,-and often conditioned upon their return to obedience and duty within a prescribed time. In some ways the words amnesty and legalization are imprecise labels for the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) programs which provided amnesty for many undocumented aliens already in the country.

Included in the concept of pardon is "amnesty," which is similar in all respects to a full pardon, insofar, as when it is granted both the crime and punishment are abrogated; however, unlike pardons, an amnesty usually refers to a class of individuals irrespective of individual situated.


Undocumented individuals who were brought to the U.S. before the age of 16 will apply for legal status through the DREAM Act. When the DREAM Act comes under discussion, the precursor that comes to immediately to mind is the general legalization program enacted by Congress as part of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA). This is a misconception. All that the DREAM Act will accomplish is that it will correct only one aspect of the shortcomings of immigration laws. It will not fix the highly technical provisions of immigration laws that are often hopelessly intertwined. This is not to say that DREAM Act is not important. It certainly is. But, it is not amnesty by the definition.