Perhaps it is more than a semantic argument; but if so, someone is going to have to explain it to me. I know that I have railed against it before but I still do not understand why the phrase “Illegal Immigrant” is considered so bad!
There was just a piece on the news about Immigrations and Customs Enforcement is reviewing the records of convicted felons here in Colorado looking for what was euphemistically referred to as “undocumented persons.” What? They’re looking for people who have never been the subject of a film? That’s not their job! Their job is to enforce immigrations and customs law.
One of the sides of the story was about protests that are going on outside of the ICE headquarters trying to get them not to deport the felons that are discovered to be here illegally. I do not know how to put this more plainly. “I don’t get it!” If the person in question has entered the country in a manner that is not in accordance with immigrations law, they are here (by its very definition) illegally! A person who has moved or migrated from one country to another is an immigrant in the country to which they have migrated. Hence the phrase “Illegal Immigrant” meaning one who has immigrated not in accordance to the law of the country is the correct description.
I have heard the argument made by the local La Raza spokesperson make the argument that calling them “Illegal Immigrants” dehumanizes them. What!? How? It is not like a chair can immigrate! I we were to call them “bootlegged,” “contraband,” or “proscribed” it could be conceived of as being dehumanizing, but to call them “illegal immigrants” is simply a correct technical description.
I wish someone would explain this to me. Is it that the legal status of the persons in question is being challenged? That is easily enough settled. Answer this one simple question: “Did the person in question enter the country legally?” if not, then they are an illegal immigrant.
An alternative explanation is possible. Is it, perhaps, that you feel the immigration laws of the United States are unreasonably strict? If so we have a completely different debate. An while I am not saying that THAT debate is not one that needs to be had, it is not the one that we are currently having. The story that I saw included a quote from a Colorado Congressman (one with whom I do not often agree, but on this one point I think Tom Tancredo is correct) who said that we should not be asking our Law Enforcement Officers to NOT enforce the law.
I agree! If it is the LAW you have a problem with, then work to change the law. If it is the ENFORCEMENT of the law that you have an issue with, then get over it! Which laws should we just not enforce next? If a law is a bad law it should be revised or repealed.
Wherever you are today I hope you will have a great day – legally.