Monday, November 30, 2015

Undocumented aliens

As I was reading last week, I noticed a report that presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton has promised to no longer use the term “illegal immigrants.” Jose Antonio Vargas, founder of the Define American group is leading a campaign to get presidential contenders to promise that they will not to use this term. Vargas says that words matter, claims that “‘illegal’ has become synonymous with ‘Mexican’,” and further states “Those words are offensive and hurtful.” He suggests the word “undocumented” in place of “illegal.” 

I have never heard the idea that folks think “illegal is synonymous with Mexican”. I have no interest in being offensive or hurtful. But... 

Yes, words do matter. And it is a matter of fact that some immigrants are illegal -- that is, they are illegally in this country and in defiance of the immigration laws of the United States. Calling them undocumented won't change that. The presence of folks in the U.S. undocumented and illegally is a problem with no easy solution. Pretending the problem is not a matter of law will not solve it.

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