As Republicans plan to cave on "Immigration Reform" we keep hearing this from Conservatives who want to "sound reasonable,": "I wouldn't mind an amnesty if there was no path to citizenship." Another formulation is "Grant amnesty, but anyone who accepts it is forbidden from ever becoming a citizen." There are others as well. That certainly "sounds reasonable," but it fails any form of intellectual rigor.
First off, once you have granted someone "amnesty," they are no longer guilty of their crime. If they're not guilty of that crime, then what justification do you have for preventing them applying for- and eventually receiving- citizenship? None.
Secondly, we have the 14th Amendment. It states, in part, "nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." Now, some of our laws are written on how to obtain citizenship. Once they are in the United States legally, there is no legal barrier to their citizenship.
Finally, though, even if the first two were not true, this falls into the "give a mouse a cookie," category. Once you capitulate to an amnesty (by whatever name) you now have several million more legal residents. Those several million legal residents (more likely: some Liberal group acting "on their behalf") will begin petitioning the Government for citizenship. Their arguments will be eloquent: "We pay taxes," and "We serve in the military," and "It's not fair!" And, eventually, Congress will cave again, and they'll become citizens.
The only way to avoid that is not to offer amnesty. They came here illegally. They chose to do so (in virtually all cases). They could have come legally, but didn't want to put up with whatever hurdles were being thrown in their way (often enough by our Government, which now wants to grant them amnesty).
The Conservative Position on Illegal Immigration should not be "Enforcement First." It should be "Enforcement. Period."