February 4, 2014 by Daniel Greenfield

The real takeaway from the GOP cliff dive that is amnesty is that if your policy is so unpopular that you have to…

A. Lie compulsively about it before you even introduce it


B. Your lie is that your policy is the opposite of what it really is

Then maybe you should just stop.

The GOP has kept on trying to sell amnesty by mislabeling it as border security, which is the opposite of what amnesty really is. It’s like trying to sell sentencing reform that will free convicted murderers by pretending that it’s a tough on crime policy.

Now it’s regrouped to selling amnesty as… getting right with the law, when it actually ignores the law.

Supporters of immigration reform have carefully poll-tested the words they use to advocate an overhaul of the nation’s immigration system. “The language on this stuff is really important,” says one expert who’s been intimately involved in the work.

The language is really important when you’re using it to lie to people.

What does work? Words and phrases that focus on the law. “Rule of law,” for example, is quite effective. But perhaps the most effective phrase for reform advocates now is “get right with the law,” as in requiring currently illegal immigrants to comply with strict legal requirements as a condition of allowing them to live openly in the United States.

“Get right with the law” is popping up a lot in the immigration debates. For one thing, it was included in the House Republicans’ 804-word statement of principles released Thursday: “Our national and economic security depend on requiring people who are living and working here illegally to come forward and get right with the law.”

Let’s get right with the law… by legalizing heroin.

We need to get right with the law… by freeing serial rapists.

It’s time to get right with the law… by completely discarding it when it comes to illegal aliens in this country.

“When you’ve got an issue that would … allow folks who are here illegally to get right with the law … you shouldn’t be looking for an excuse not to do it.” — President Obama, Nov. 13.

“[There] ought to be a rule-based system so that we secure the border, interior enforcement, while we fix and get people right with the law without producing amnesty…” — Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Jan. 30.

When you start sounding like Emperor Pen and Phone, you’re not right or with the law.