Politicians like to point out that the mass legalization of illegal aliens would not be an amnesty because they would impose certain penalties like: payment of back taxes and /or a fine, the acquisition of a knowledge of civics and English, and then a return to the back of the queue for regular immigration status. With the possible exception of the fine, assuming it could be collected, none of the other items can be considered a penalty. They represent simple compliance with the law.
Allowing illegal aliens to stay and work (the object of their illegality) is a sufficient offset to any fine that might be imposed and collected. In fact, the fine could just as well be characterized as a work permit fee since that is what they get in the trade.
Going to the back of the line is meaningless unless the illegals are required to return to their homelands and remain there until their visa or immigration status is approved. A much more meaningful idea would be to insist that since they entered our country illegally they can never become citizens. Most illegals would find this completely acceptable if it was coupled with some sort of work permit that allowed them to stay without fear of deportation. Citizenship should always be reserved for those who enter our country legally.