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Amnesty refers to a legal absolution for a crime, typically conferred upon a guilty party by a branch of government other than the judiciary. In the United States, the President can grant individual criminals amnesty by a presidential pardon; similarly, the legislature can repeal, or carve out exceptions to, criminal laws, and provide for retroactive application, thus discharging guilt.

In United States political discourse, "amnesty" typically refers to legislative proposals to forgive immigrants who enter the country illegally and, in some cases, grant them citizenship. While moderates like John McCain support amnesty,[1] conservatives staunchly oppose immigration amnesty in any form.[2]