Amnesty supporters Bruce Braley and Joni Ernst battle over definition of "amnesty"

Democrat Bruce Braley and Republican Joni Ernst are battling to become U.S. Senator from Iowa. Both support what most call "amnesty", i.e., both would legalize millions of illegal aliens. So, what to do when your position is basically the same as your opponent? Argue over terms [1]:

“Will you join John McCain and Marco Rubio in calling on Speaker Boehner to bring this immigration bill to the floor of the House so we can pass it?” Mr. Braley asked Mrs. Ernst.

Mrs. Ernst.. said that Congress should “secure the border,” “enforce the laws on the books” and then move to “modernize” the legal immigration system.

She said, “I don’t support amnesty” and said she is opposed to President Obama taking executive action to “grant amnesty” - which some conservatives fear he will do after the 2014 mid-term elections.

“I do support bringing a lot of these illegal immigrants forward, but not granting them amnesty,” she said. “We have 5 million people waiting in line right now to receive U.S. citizenship and we need to honor that commitment to those people.”

Mr. Braley shot back that “Sen. Rubio and Sen. McCain did not vote for amnesty” by supporting the Senate immigration bill, which would grant quick legal status to most illegal immigrants and create a new specific pathway that would let most illegal immigrants get citizenship in about 13 years.

“Amnesty is when you break the law and there are no consequences,” Mr. Braley said. “That’s why they voted for this bill. It has real serious tough consequences including an admission that you broke the law.”

After the debate, the Ernst campaign clarified that the candidate believes the Senate immigration bill amounts to “amnesty.”

Ernst also claimed that "long-term" we need workers, which is debatable given that the labor force participation rate is at its lowest in a few decades.

Braley supported bringing in foreign labor to work as corn detasselers, rather than making it easier for unemployed Americans to take those jobs. Braley falsely said "high-tech companies are in desperate need of PhDs and engineers"; if that were true wages in those fields would be spiking and they aren't. See also skilled immigration for other downsides of their policies.

If Ernst were smart and opposed mass legalization of illegal aliens, she wouldn't have gotten into a debate about terms. She instead would have followed the advice on the reform not amnesty page: don't call amnesty "amnesty" when dealing with amnesty supporters, because they'll do exactly what Braley did above: start arguing about terms. Instead, Ernst should have used the term comprehensive immigration reform, and then showed how that would harm the U.S.

If Ernst weren't very pro-big business, she would be able to undercut Braley - and perhaps even stump him on air - by pointing out that in one way any "reform" bill is amnesty. No "reform" bill has sought to punish businesses that have knowingly broken the immigration laws for decades. Their malfeasance has never been addressed.

Of course, it would be difficult for her to do that because, at the end of the day, what she'd enact and what Braley would enact would end up being nearly identical. Both Ernst and Braley support very pro-corporate immigration policies that would harm millions of Americans.

Want to do something about this? Look up those who support @TeamBraley, @BruceBraley, @JoniForIowa, and @joniernst and make the points above to them.

[1] washingtontimes . com/news/2014/sep/28/joni-ernst-bruce-braley-spar-over-immigration-in-f
The quotes above give a good enough idea to how that segment went, but there's video of the exchange around the 30:00 mark: youtube . com/watch?v=NOUodSNyZtg