Take action now: Take the Stop Amnesty Challenge.

It's up to you to block Obama's amnesty.
 

The "mass deportations or a massive amnesty" false choice

One of the main talking points of comprehensive immigration reform supporters is a "false choice": they pretend there are only two options when in fact there are others. For just one of the many examples, in his "honest conversation" about immigration, Barack Obama said the following:

"We are not going to send [illegal aliens] home... He said the country would have to devote "all our law enforcement resources to rounding up people without papers, even if they weren't causing any trouble," and once that's done, the country would have to "empty out our jails."

The false choice he's offering is between mass deportations and amnesty. What he failed to mention to his followers is a third choice: attrition. Under that plan we'd simply ramp-up immigration enforcement at the same time as reducing non-emergency public benefits and other incentives to come here illegally. By reducing the numbers of job openings and the amount of benefits to illegal aliens, many would self-deport over time. And, many fewer would try to come here illegally. No mass deportations would be necessary. We wouldn't need to spend all our time and money on enforcement; in fact, several high-profile prosecutions of major companies that employ illegal aliens might be all that's necessary to send a very strong message.

Even the New York Times has acknowledged attrition as an alternative, even if they tried to present it in a bad light. What Obama did and many others have done is worse; they simply engage in a logical fallacy.

Note also that supporters of immigration "reform" usually present increased enforcement as a selling point. If they weren't simply trying to sell a bill of goods, then it wouldn't be difficult for them to support attrition-then-amnesty as a sign of good faith. Yet, they do the opposite, fighting against most forms of immigration enforcement. The reason is clear: they have no real intention of supporting "reform"-mandated enforcement if what they want passes.

Last modified Jun 15, 2009
Discussed in (click each link for the full post):

Greg Orman misleads on immigration using cookie cutter talking points - 09/28/14

... not even advisable. (NOTE: see deportations false choice) We’ve got whole industries in Kansas that would go away. We’ve got towns that would be decimated if we took such drastic actions. Towns like Dodge City and Garden City, much of the agricultural community in Kansas would be absolutely devastated if we took a real harsh position on that. (NOTE: see the related crooked town stories, and see...

Americans for a Conservative Direction ad "Choices" misleads about immigration (Zuckerberg, Facebook) - 06/10/14

... (video below) is an example of the deportations false choice. It pretends that we have to choose between mass deportations and comprehensive immigration reform. It ignores another option: attrition. Under that plan we'd increase immigration enforcement both at the border and at workplaces and decrease incentives (like DACA, drivers licenses for illegal aliens, college discounts, and so on). The...

More ways Jennifer Rubin is wrong on immigration - 05/27/14

... sector. 2. Rubin is implying the deportations false choice. She's pretending we have to choose between "reform" and "kick[ing] all of the illegal immigrants out". That ignores the attrition plan. 3. Perhaps Texas isn't such a great example. Second in percentage of uninsured children, seventh in percent of children living in poverty, eighth in percent of their population living under the poverty...

Another misleading Public Religion Research Institute immigration poll (Saperstein, Preston, CNN) - 11/25/13

... set of possible options is the deportations false choice: they ignore the attrition plan. Under attrition we'd increase immigration enforcement - but without the mass roundups PRRI implies - in order to encourage most illegal aliens to return on their own. Considering that even the New York Times has acknowledged that attrition is an option, why didn't PRRI include it? Regarding the question...

What Chris Geidner of Buzz Feed didn't ask Tom Ridge about immigration - 10/24/13

... Ridge that he was engaging in the deportations false choice; see the link for the details. Ridge falsely claims we have to choose between mass deportations and amnesty, ignoring attrition or other possibilities. Geidner should have asked Ridge if there are any other options he can think of, and to explain why he objects to those other options. Obviously, that didn't happen. 3. Geidner should...

Rand Paul smears Americans, incl. playing Nazi card on amnesty opponents (illegal aliens in "concentration camps") - 07/01/13

... Rand Paul is engaging in the deportations false choice; see the link for how he's trying to deceive. 5. Here's the pro-American alternative to Rand Paul's anti-Americanism. Rand Paul supports foreign serfs being paid a low (and subsidized) wage; this site supports taking steps to make sure that Americans do jobs they can and should be doing at fair wages under good conditions. See jobs Americans...

Marco Rubio misleads about options to mass deportations, ignores "self deport" - 04/21/13

... what's called around here the deportations false choice (see that link for an explanation of that misleading tactic). Per this [1]: I asked Rubio about the word “amnesty” being used by foes, especially on the right, to try to kill his bill. “Amnesty means the forgiveness of things," he replied. "Amnesty means there’s no consequences for doing something. There’s a consequence for violating the...

George F. Will misleads, promotes citizenship for millions of illegal aliens (amnesty, This Week, ABC) - 01/27/13

... years ago, Will engages in the deportations false choice and trots out his "line of buses" talking point. Even though Mitt Romney briefly supported attrition and even though the study Will cites shows that attrition works, Will misleads by failing to mention it as a possible option. Please go to one of Will's personal appearances or contact him through email, and ask him why he didn't mention...

Very likely Rep. Trey Gowdy will help push immigration amnesty - 01/08/13

... change. 7. Then, Gowdy engages in the deportations false choice where he scaremongers mass deportations while ignoring the attrition plan. While some people do want to engage in mass deportations, they have absolutely no power. Not content to do that, he baby-waves like any other amnesty supporter. 8. In the final paragraph of the quote, Gowdy seems to be telegraphing support for some form of...

Mitt Romney wimps out on immigration, again (Univision, "our system isn't to deport people") - 09/20/12

... administration? Regarding mass deportations, see deportations false choice. Large numbers of hacks have pretended that we need to choose between mass deportations and some form of amnesty, ignoring a third choice: "self-deport", aka attrition. Romney is offering a variant of that false choice by redefining the term "self-deport". To everyone besides Romney, it means "attrition through...

Texas 2012 GOP platform goes "liberal" on immigration (IRCOT, Koch) - 06/09/12

... supports mass deportations; see deportations false choice. Why are they opposing something that no one with any power is proposing? 6. They oppose "blanket amnesty", using the 1986 amnesty as an example. When someone says something like that, it's almost always an indicator that they're trying to fool people. See what John McCain tried to do as well as reform not amnesty. 7. The 2010 GOP plank...

Presente's racial campaign against Marco Rubio (No Somos Rubios) - 01/27/12

... off, the last paragraph is the deportations false choice.

Rick Perry's unworkable immigration idea: work visas for illegal aliens (John King, CNN, secure the border) - 11/04/11

... allowed Rick Perry to engage in the deportations false choice: the idea that we're forced to choose between mass deportations and some form of amnesty (whether a path to citizenship or the massive guest workers program that Rick Perry supports). 4. And, last but not by any means whatsoever in Rick Perry's eyes, Perry endlessly harped on securing the border. See the secure the border page. At...

Public Religion Research Institute's misleading poll (immigration, DREAM Act, Brookings Institution) - 09/06/11

... and that's an example of the deportations false choice. See the link for an explanation and examples of others who've tried to mislead with the same false choice between amnesty and mass deportations. PRRI didn't ask about other options, such as attrition. If they had, there's a very good chance they would have obtained a much different result. And, of course, they're using secure the border and...

George Will, Michelle Rhee, Mel Martinez, Jose Vargas all hype anti-American DREAM Act and mass immigration (Christiane Amanpour) - 07/03/11

... and continues to mislead with deportations false choice. 3. Will (as at the penultimate link) continues to fail to acknowledge his opponents' arguments: "If we are going to import, as we are doing, a portion of Mexico's poverty, and if we're going to avoid having a permanent submerged underclass, then we're going to have to do something to put these people on the ladder of upward mobility in...

2006: George Will supports amnesty, guest workers; misleads with false choice; "unlimited" skilled immigration - 07/03/11

... his readers by engaging in the deportations false choice: he falsely claimed that we need to choose between mass deportations and amnesty when there are other choices. One other choice is attrition. Will also used the jobs Americans wont do canard, and the secure the border talking point. He also somewhat implied a Darwinistic immigration policy. He also supported guest workers and an "unlimited...

Newt Gingrich offers false choice, supports incremental amnesty, doesn't challenge CNN for misleading on immigration (GOP 6/13/11 debate) - 06/13/11

... [1], John King engages in the deportations false choice fallacy. See the link for a longer description, but King implied that we're forced to choose between mass deportations and some form of amnesty. That's not the case: there are other alternatives, such as attrition. King also used the living in the shadows talking point. 2. In the second paragraph and last paragraph, Gingrich objects to King...

Why the Mormon Church is wrong on immigration (June 10 statement, LDS) - 06/10/11

... God. A. They're engaging in the deportations false choice fallacy; see the link. Specifically, they're ignoring the policy of attrition whereby we'd enforce our immigration laws and reduce non-emergency benefits to illegal aliens to encourage them to leave voluntarily: no "mass expulsion[s]" would be required. B. The "mistreatment of individuals or families" they mention can be divided into two...

With millions unemployed, Ag Secy Tom Vilsack demeans American workers, promotes amnesty, opposes enforcement, uses bogus talking points, opposes eVerify - 05/27/11

... links. Vilsack also used the deportations false choice, saying "The reality is, if you tried to deport all 12 million it would take several hundred years. That isn't practical." See the link for how he tried to mislead. Vilsack - just as his boss, George W Bush, and dozens of other hacks have done - used the system is broken canard [2]. 5. Vilsack also ran down the eVerify program, at least as a...

Ron Paul immigration position now as bad as Beltway hacks - 05/02/11

... immigration canards page. He uses the deportations false choice just like every other loose immigration hack has, from George W Bush to Obama immigration to Tamar Jacoby to Frank Sharry and all points in between and beyond. He decries family separation just like the National Council of La Raza and dozens of other far-left groups. He says "deporting some who have lived here for decades, if not...

Haley Barbour lobbied for Mexican government, now misleads about amnesty - 02/15/11

... the details. 3. He's using the deportations false choice canard, pretending that we must choose between mass deportations and legalization when there are other options, including attrition. 4. The guest worker program he promotes would result in one of two things: either a very large underclass of "second-class non-citizens" akin to the situation of Turkish "guests" in Germany, or some form of "...

Anti-science, anti-American: Reason TV misleads, sticks up for illegal immigration (Delta Smelt, Paul Feine) - 01/13/11

... supports mass deportations; see the deportations false choice page. Second, just because I've heard that propaganda before doesn't mean what Collins said is a propaganda attempt. More likely, he's probably just not enough of a reporter to do things like follow the money. Later, the producer/writer of the video, Paul Feine states "the Central Valley has always attracted self-reliant immigrants...

Newt Gingrich supports some parts of DREAM Act; supports guest workers; uses false choice; sounds like Hoffenblum - 12/06/10

... And, Gingrich engaged in the deportations false choice by failing to acknowledge attrition as an alternative to mass deportations or a legalization program. And, as with every other hack, Gingrich supports secure the border: Gingrich said he is in favor of deporting illegals who are gang members or arrested for a felony, and is “committed 100-percent” to enforcement of the US border, noting his...

Cecilia Munoz misleads about DREAM Act (White House "Open for Questions") - 11/30/10

... minute mark she engages in the deportations false choice. She follows that with another false choice, pretending that the only alternative to the DREAM Act is for illegal alien students to remain in the U.S. Another alternative - one that would be far better policy - would be to repatriate those covered by the DREAM Act. That way they can help build up their own countries, and at the same time...

Rupert Murdoch testifies for amnesty, massive immigration (using two CAP studies) - 09/30/10

... paragraph, he's engaging in the deportations false choice fallacy. 3. The study referenced in the third paragraph is a study from the Center for American Progress that uses a highly flawed methodology to arrive at that figure. 4. In the fourth paragraph, he uses the living in the shadows canard and also doesn't reveal the huge flaws in comprehensive immigration reform. Those include the...

GOP leaders want hearings on birthright citizenship; bogus political ploy? (McCain, Graham) - 08/03/10

... uses two bogus talking points: deportations false choice and immigration line. If he were serious he'd explore much less difficult options, such as making sure that the Obama administration is enforcing the law to the greatest extent possible. Instead, this amounts to little more than a show. UPDATE 3: This post uses the phrase "birthright citizenship" just to mean the practice of giving...

Obama immigration speech, July 1, 2010 - 07/01/10

... note that he's engaging in the deportations false choice and at the end of his speech he even engages in what we call the Lazarus fallacy: reading part of Emma Lazarus' poem that was tacked on to the Statue of Liberty years after it was built. In the meantime, see , Obama immigration, Janet Napolitano, Department of Homeland Security, and the list of topics we cover. And, if you don't want...

Illinois Business Immigration Coalition: Republican gov. Jim Edgar joins with Mexico-linked ICIRR - 04/09/10

... was built on immigrants..." See deportations false choice and immigration tradition fallacy and the posts in immigration economics for why that's wrong, and note also that Edgar seems to be parroting a highly-flawed study from the far-left Center for American Progress for his claim about the costs of mass deportations (not that anyone in a position of power is suggesting that of course; see the...

Greenberg Quinlan Rosner/ LAT / USC poll designed to mislead; has immigration false choice - 04/03/10

A new "American Viewpoint" poll from the Los Angeles Times and the University of Southern California - conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner - can be accessed at gqrr.com/index.php?ID=2437, with a report here. Like others listed in immigration poll, it offers a false choice about the options available to us. These are the only three options that people were given for the "IMMIBAT" question (...

Chuck Schumer, Lindsey Graham mislead about their amnesty scheme (3/18/10 edition) - 03/18/10

Senators Charles Schumer and Lindsey Graham - the "dastardly duo" - take to the pages of the Washington Post to offer "The right way to mend immigration", outlining a comprehensive immigration reform scheme they're going to try to push through (link). They provide no details on their plan, and most of what they outline has been discussed in the summary or the links on the reform link above....

Obama meets with black leaders on unemployment, Hispanic leaders on amnesty (+Graham, Schumer) - 03/11/10

... two misleading talking points: deportations false choice and immigration line.

Sandeep Gopalan misleads, shows fallacy of comprehensive immigration reform - 01/13/10

... explain that, only playing the deportations false choice. 4. He promotes a guest workers scheme similar to the Mike Pence scheme, saying "Illegal immigrants must be allowed to qualify for these guest passes upon payment of a fine, with a guarantee of returning to their home countries upon expiry of the work permit." If they could require them to return home then, why not try that now? And, of...

Alan Greenspan promotes massive skilled immigration, opposes immigration enforcement - 12/17/09

... strawman argument related to the deportations false choice.

America's Voice lies, misleads in "The Anti-Worker Truth About the Anti-Immigrant Lobby" - 12/13/09

... That's why they're using the deportations false choice: because they can't present an argument that a gradual reduction in the number of illegal aliens would somehow hurt American workers. 2. Few - and I would guess none among the referenced Members of Congress - are calling for mass deportations; more on that in #5. 3. No one with any power wants to expel "immigrants", i.e., those who came here...

University of Denver's deceptive amnesty push (Architecture for Immigration Reform) - 12/09/09

... paragraph below, they use the deportations false choice, ignoring attrition (more on that in h., i., and j.) d. They claim there's increased border security, when that doesn't exactly comport with the facts. And, the far-left continually works to undermine border security and other enforcement; their report offers no way to prevent those from doing that. e. They claim there are "existing...

Meg Whitman spouts amnesty talking points (California governor candidate) - 10/29/09

... the United States. (note: see deportations false choice) The candidate, 53, said the solution is to find a mechanism that allows them to live here legally. "Can we get a fair program where people stand at the back of the line (note: see immigration line), they pay a fine, they do some things that would ultimately allow a path to legalization?" she asked. (note: see comprehensive immigration...

Andrea Nill of ThinkProgress misleads about Joe the Plumber immigration comments at tea party - 07/06/09

The Houston tea party featured an appearance by Joe the Plumber, who said the following: I believe in making sure our country is safe first. I believe we need to spend a little more on illegal immigrants. Get them the hell out of our damn country and close the borders down. We can do it. We’ve got the greatest military in the world and you’re telling me we can’t close our borders? - That’s just...

Harry Reid says there are enough Senate votes for immigration "reform"; offers deportation false choice - 06/15/09

... well as secure the border and deportations false choice. [1] hispanicbusiness.com/politics/2009/6/11/ senate_leader_says_immigration_reform_possible.htm

Michael Dukakis mindlessly spouts massive immigration talking points (Michael Bendetson) - 05/24/09

Remember Michael Dukakis? You know, former Massachusetts governor? The tank photo you see to the right? Ran for president in 1988? In case no one still remembers, raid a game of Trivial Pursuit, he's probably in there somewhere. Anyway, university student Michael Bendetson [1] has scored an interview with him and printed it at the Huffington Post [2]. And, this momentous event allows us to...

NYT: illegal immigration is "New York's special gift to America" (unhinged anti-Gillibrand editorial) - 01/31/09

The part Mexican-owned New York Times offers the editorial "Listening to Ms. Gillibrand" (link). They're wrong as usual, and they're even more unhinged than usual too. Red-faced with anger at country mouse Kirsten Gillibrand's Upstate ways, they lose it right about here: Ms. Gillibrand's House votes on immigration amounted to a repudiation of New York's special gift to America. She allied herself...