I often hear the statement that "comprehensive immigration reform" or a "path to citizenship" is just another word for amnesty.
If we took an offense that originally involved a jail sentence, and we change the penalty so that the person gets community service, is that amnesty?
This is from The Catholic News Agency
The reform would require those who have broken the law to pay a fine, pay owed back taxes and learn English. He said these requirements rebut claims that immigration reform is a kind of amnesty, since amnesty is a benefit granted “without anything in return.”
If you are penalizing an action, but you are not penalizing it in a different way than one would ordinarily have expected, is that amnesty?
The rebuttal might be that if you said if you let a murderer off with community service plus a fine, that's still surely amnesty, even though the person was penalized.
When I think of amnesty, I think of the law saying "Oh forget it." I don't see that in these proposals.