What are Amenables and Collaterals, and Why Should I Care?


If you’re reading this, you’ve assuredly arrived at this site because you were searching the web for information about U.S. immigration, maybe the law, enforcement of it, or some combination of the two? I know about both and have significant experience with them, and amenables and collaterals are a large part of both.

**Language Warning**

There’s a percentage of the American populace that vehemently objects to use of the term “alien,” whether or not it’s used in conjunction with the adjective illegal. Still, the former is defined by U.S. law; specifically, Section 1101 of Title 8 of the U.S. Code in subsection (a), paragraph (3), read as 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(3), so I’m going to use it accordingly. Further, while some prefer the term ‘illegal alien,’ it’s not incorrect, but appears less than three dozen times in U.S. immigration law, most notably, in 8 U.S.C. § 1365, “Reimbursement of Stats for costs of incarcerating illegal aliens.” Conversely, the basis for the term ‘illegal immigrant’ stems from the statutory definition of an “immigrant” defined by § 1101(a)(15). “Undocumented,” on the other hand, has no basis in law. Whatever its exact origin, it’s now used as a way to minimize the act of an alien being unlawfully present in the U.S. having immigrated illegally whether or not their entry was initially legal (a visa overstay versus a border crosser, the former a civil offense, the latter a crime)—both groups are characterized by the law as ‘intending immigrants.’

What’s in a word?

“Amenable” in common usage would be a formal and antiquated way of saying that someone is agreeable or willing to do something. In the context of immigration enforcement, it means an alien is answerable to’ the law,’ and that would be 8 U.S.C. § 1227 and/or § 1182, which govern deportability and inadmissibility, respectively. In short, an amenable alien is one the Government is alleging has committed an offense whether at the Federal, State, or local level, which qualifies them for removal (the post-1996 term for deportation, but that’s a post for another day) and seeks to do so.

On the other hand, “collateral” is, in the non-financial sense, precisely what it sounds like, something unintentional, think collateral damage. Still, in this case, it’s an arrest other than the intended target of an immigration enforcement action—commonly but inaccurately referred to as a’ raid.’

After years on Twitter under an alias which is a variation, a portmanteau more accurately, of the initials my last names, on October 17, 2017, I created a new account, @8USC12, to tweet about immigration in response to what I saw as an absence of knowledge about immigration law, and prevalence of falsehoods about it. Some intentional and offered in ignorance—no offense if that describes you! For others, it was deliberately intended as propaganda. Initially, it was ‘entering illegally is a civil offense.’ Within a few months—after the so-called Trump effect wore off, it became ‘asylum is legal,’ that’s true, but entering between Ports of Entry is a crime; the suggestion the majority of illegal aliens are seeking asylum, they aren’t; that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) put kids in’ cages,’ they didn’t; and that before the Trump administration families had never been separated except in extraordinary circumstances, it happened during multiple prior ones albeit to a lesser extent.

As a blog, Amenables & Collaterals is the natural progression of my self-interested concern-trolling on Twitter—muck-raking being only a hobby, but my livelihood inextricably linked to immigration. In the era of big-tech censorship and “cancel culture,” I wanted a place where I can say what I damn well please without being blocked by those who don’t want to hear it, free of the fear of reprisals, and without alphanumeric character constraints. It was an idea first suggested by Mrs. 8USC12 and later supported by friends who work for various branches of the Federal Government, at immigration-related think tanks, in the media, etc.

Recognizing it’s nearly impossible to be everything to everyone, Amenables & Collaterals isn’t intended as a blog just for knowledgable immigration policy wonks, journos whose beat is or includes immigration, nor the everyday U.S. Citizen affected by immigration and looking to learn more about immigration get answers to questions to coverage about immigration they see covered by the media, and talked about by politicians. 


I wouldn’t say I’m trying to change anyone’s mind about immigration; it’s a divisive topic about which most people have already made up their minds. Still, to those on the Left who say they don’t object to illegal immigration and/or support programs like Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and want yet another amnesty, how much do you really know about the issues, and would being more informed make a difference? For those on the Right opposed to immigration, be it illegal, legal, or both, are you making claims like ‘being here in the U.S. illegally is a crime,’ it’s not; or that ‘all illegal aliens are criminals,’ most are, but if you’re not explaining why, e.g., because working without authorization requires a commission of a combination of crimes, how do you expect those on the other side of the political divide to see your perspective? Maybe you’re a pollster querying eligible and registered voters about immigration topics without providing context or ensuring the respondent is knowledgeable about the issue, or a journalist, who seeks to turn violations of the law into human interest stories by downplaying facts or omitting them altogether?  

In the end, the various groups are often wrong, making enforcement more difficult and compromise that much harder to reach, which is ultimately why I started Amenables & Collaterals.

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One Response

  1. Congratulations, you’ve arrived! Perhaps a book. Tell Mrs. Hart she should be proud, which we know she is. Keep the blog going.

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