Implementing an Amnesty Program
Implementing an amnesty program is a complex process. Experiences have shown a host of challenges arising from the implementation of amnesty programs around the world. From war torn zones of Africa, the volatile Middle East, and the western states, the problems seem to persist. The problems are manifold, but finding a common ground to solve them has proven elusive.
The most conspicuous of all problems surrounding the implementation of an amnesty program is its perceived conflict with the justice process. Many structured legal systems around the world demand that offenders be punished for their crimes. Many people seem to hold this opinion as well. Amnesty programs “offer not to prosecute offenders” (Sarat & Hussain, 2007). As a result, public support for the program has been quite low since most people view the program as “a reward for law breaking.”
The program is expensive to implement since the federal government has to employ workers to help in the registration process. From another perspective competition for available facilities increases cost. According to Rector (2007), the federal government would spend $ 2.6 trillion, in implementing the 2007 amnesty program.
Another challenge, perhaps the most damaging, in implementing the program is fraud. There have been cases of people who do not qualify by all standards to be granted amnesty, getting it through bribes. These immigrants pay off immigration officials to be registered despite not meeting set conditions.
The 1986 IRCA implementation program confirmed these concerns. It was alleged that fraudulent registration accounted for “…2.6 million registered immigrants in 1986” (Rector, 2007). The program, according to many policy makers, scholars, and opinion shapers, failed miserably. First, it pardoned criminals instead of punishing them. Secondly, it led to excessive government expenditure on registration modalities. Finally, instead of helping curb the immigrants’ problem, it stimulated more illegal immigration resulting in an overwhelming increase in the number of illegal immigrants (Milde, Vernon & Harrington, 2006). These experiences are reasons enough for the opponents of the program to shun it.