The self-proclaimed language police of the progressive left have now decided that using the term “illegal alien” is inherently racist and inhuman, and damages the immigration debate. The leaders of this movement are asking that everybody stop using the term altogether. For once, the left got it right… sort of.
Set aside for a moment the sheer absurdity of grouping “illegal alien” together with the “N-word.” Set aside the fact that illegal alien gangs have themselves been committing racially-motivated violence (mostly against blacks) for years. Set aside the irony of the left claiming they are “humanizing” a debate while simultaneously branding millions of people as racists simply for using a factual term.
I actually agree with the left that the term “illegal alien” should be dropped. I even go so far as to generally agree with their statement that “people are not illegal.”Allow me to explain.
Punching someone in the face for no reason is illegal, but we do not refer to that person as an “illegal pugilist“. Selling drugs is illegal, but we do not refer to the dealer as an “illegal businessman”. Stealing is illegal, but we do not refer to the thief as an “illegal acquisition specialist.”
Typically, we refer to people’s ACTIONS as being illegal, not the people themselves. The people who commit those illegal actions? We call them criminals.
But what about the charge of racism? I can actually see how someone might object to being called an illegal alien on racial grounds. After all, in today’s society, “alien” has a much different connotation than it did a few hundred years ago.
It kind of makes sense that folks would find racial overtones in being compared to funny looking beings with odd colored skin and strange facial features.
The left would have us replace “illegal alien” with a term like “undocumented immigrant”, or “unauthorized immigrant.” Nevermind that these terms are contradictory, since being an “immigrant” to the United States implies both documentation and authorization. It’s kind of like saying bureaucratic efficiency, or political ethics, or progressive socialism.
Then there’s the hilariously ludicrous replacement term “NAFTA refugee,” which apparently has been coined to give the progressive left a succinct way to blame U.S. capitalism for the plight of Mexican citizens… you know, rather than the systemic corruption of their government, dysfunctional legal system, and rampant drug violence. But that’s another story.
The left is right though: it’s time to drop the I-word. It’s time to stop using the term “illegal alien,” because it lacks sufficient accuracy and context. Instead, I propose we all start using a far more descriptive term to describe those who cross our borders illegally; a term which may have even been coined right here on this very site two years ago:
As I said before, “criminal” is a much more correct and accurate way to describe a person who commits an illegal act than as an “illegal”. And using the word “Entrant” simply describes an action, thereby avoiding the inaccurate and contradictory use of “immigrant,” as well as the racial component of comparing people to little green men (or huge, scary, acid-spitting harbingers of death).
So today, let’s acknowledge that words are indeed important. Let’s follow the lead of our friends on the progressive left. Let’s agree that “illegal alien” is inaccurate, insufficient, and possibly charged with interplanetary racism.
Today, let’s begin using the far more accurate and race-neutral term of criminal entrant.
© 2012, Robert James. All rights reserved.
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