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In 2007, New Mexico State University's Speakers Series welcomed Maria Hinojosa. Ms Hinojosa hosts PBS's show One on One. I didn't attend her lecture, but I saw the video of it on the NMSU TV channel. She spoke primarily about immigration. Frankly, I can't remember much of what she said, as living so close to the Mexican border, most of it wasn't new information for me. What did stick with me was so profound, I will never forget it. She said she was in the green room at CNN with Elie Wiesel. They were speaking about immigration. He told her that no human is illegal. I found the full quote:

"You, who are so-called illegal aliens, must know that no human being is illegal. That is a contradiction in terms. Human beings can be beautiful or more beautiful, they can be fat or skinny, they can be right or wrong, but illegal? How can a human being be illegal?"

I found the quote on the website of an immigration attorney in Montana. Yeah. We have another border. His name is Shahid Haque-Hausrath. I include his name because I will quote him as well. He explains so perfectly how the term "illegal alien" is not only inaccurate, but also pejorative.

When one refers to an immigrant as an "illegal alien," they are using the term as a noun. They are effectively saying that the individual, as opposed to any actions that the individual has taken, is illegal.  The term “illegal alien” implies that a person’s existence is criminal.  I’m not aware of any other circumstance in our common vernacular where a crime is considered to render the individual – as opposed to the individual’s actions – as being illegal.  We don’t even refer to our most dangerous and vile criminals as being “illegal.”
Elsewhere on the site he says that we would never refer to a bank robber as an "illegal citizen." When you put it like that, the words "illegal alien" sound ridiculous. But more, it sounds disrespectful. And it has the same effect as those who use terms to make President Obama seem "different." Additionally:
"Illegal alien" is not a legal term.  An alien is defined as anyone who is not a citizen or national of the United States.  However, "illegal alien" is not a legal term in the Immigration and Nationality Act.  For some, the use of the term "illegal alien" is likely based on a misconception that an immigrant's very presence in the United States is a criminal violation of the law.  While the act of entering the country without inspection is a federal misdemeanor, and for repeat offenders could be a felony, the status of being present in the United States without a visa is not an ongoing criminal violation.
It is also true that many undocumented immigrants came to this country with visas that have since expired. It would seem from this explanation that those people have never been criminals.

My purpose in writing this is simple. Please spread the word that the use of the term "illegal" is not only inaccurate, but it's a degrading way to refer to another human being. We, as progressives/liberals, can, and should do better.

Note: If you look through Mr. Haque-Hausrath's site, you can find a link to Markos' rant on Jon Tester's vote against the DREAM Act.

This is a picture of the tradition that the immigrants to this part of the country contributed. It's the Plaza en La Mesilla decorated for Christmas with the traditional luminarias. Next to the gazebo is a sign that says that it marks the spot where the Gadsden Purchase was signed. In the background is San Albino Church. The church was established by order of the Mexican government in 1851. In 1906, the present building was constructed on the foundation of the original adobe church. New Mexico became a state in 1912. We are presently celebrating our centennial.
Photobucket

UPDATE: I wrote this diary because I believe that human beings should never be called "illegal." No more. No less. There are apparently people who visit this site who should write their own diaries where they can discuss other issues. I really don't appreciate people hijacking this diary, so please take your arguments elsewhere.

Originally posted to HappyinNM on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 11:41 AM PDT.

Also republished by New Mexico Kossaks and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The term is used to dehumanize those that (18+ / 0-)

    the right do not wish to be considered human. Once you dehumanize a population to can treat them however you might treat an unruly animal.

    Ask top al Qaeda leaders about Obama's foreign policy. Wait, you can't. They're dead. -Paul Begala

    by Fickle on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 12:03:40 PM PDT

  •  It's definitely a perjorative and should be avoid (8+ / 0-)

    -ed when used to describe immigrants who subverted the immigration system here or anywhere; only bigots would question their humanity.

    Today, strive to be the person you want to be.

    by GoGoGoEverton on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 12:09:39 PM PDT

  •  It Is True That 8 USC 1324 And 1325 (3+ / 0-)

    It is also true that many undocumented immigrants came to this country with visas that have since expired. It would seem from this explanation that those people have never been criminals.

    Are not criminal statutes. The criminal aspect comes about as a result of doing those things required to live and work in the U.S.

    DMV fraud, Social Security fraud, perjury as a result of fraudulently filling out an I9 form, insurance fraud, identity theft, etc.

    However, "illegal alien" is not a legal term in the Immigration and Nationality Act.  For some, the use of the term "illegal alien" is likely based on a misconception that an immigrant's very presence in the United States is a criminal violation of the law.
    I think for most it is the fact that 'illegal alien' has been used a defacto term of art by the U.S. government going back more than 100 years.

    I won't be coming home tonight, my generation will put it right - Genesis 9:3

    by superscalar on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 12:26:38 PM PDT

  •  undocumented (4+ / 0-)

    That isn't quite descriptive enough though.  They are more than just not documented.  They either came in here without permission or overstayed their visa.  These acts are universally not accepted in almost every country in the world.  

    I'm all for reform that includes a path to citizenship, but to pretend that what is happening is perfectly legit is just as divisive as the illegal term.

    •  What Do You Propose 'Reforming'? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sockpuppet, think blue

      I keep asking this question but have yet to get a satisfactory answer. Mexico accounts for 62% of all illegal immigrants according to estimates. Mexico has also dominated the U.S. legal immigration system for more than two decades now.

      What do you propose 'reforming' which is going to change anything?

      I'm all for reform that includes a path to citizenship

      Then what? Again, I keep asking the question, what happens after you get your 'path to citizenship' for every in the country illegally today -- and tomorrow that individual crosses the border from Mexico into the U.S. illegally -- do you then provide a 'path to citizenship' for that person too, and if not, why not? What is the difference between that person who crossed two weeks ago, who was provided a 'path to citizenship' and that person who crosses tomorrow?

      Here is the U.S. family based immigration system. What would you 'reform'?

      I won't be coming home tonight, my generation will put it right - Genesis 9:3

      by superscalar on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 12:36:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Much to reform (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ladybug53, think blue

        Stop pretending that we aren't going to let people come here to work.   Give more work visas or do a guest worker program.
        Have their employers pay a tax to bring them over.
        Allow those that are here w/o a conviction to become green card holders and eventually citizens.  
        Put more resources on the border to regulate immigration.  The government should know who is coming and going.  

        •  There Are Currently Eight (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sockpuppet, think blue

          Give more work visas or do a guest worker program

          Different guest worker visa programs in the U.S. The H2A and H2B guest worker visa programs have no numerical limitations.

          Put more resources on the border to regulate immigration</>

          More than forty percent of all illegal immigrants entered the U.S. legally and just decided not to go home.

          Allow those that are here w/o a conviction to become green card holders and eventually citizens

          Excuse me but simply saying 'if you enter the U.S. illegal and can fly under the radar for some fixed period of time we'll give you a green card' doesn't sound like it's going to 'reform' much of anything.

          I won't be coming home tonight, my generation will put it right - Genesis 9:3

          by superscalar on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 12:48:14 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Funny, Mexico, that. (0+ / 0-)

        Might it be because they happen to be the closest country from which immigration here is difficult, from where the economy is notably weaker than ours?

        I defended you above, reluctantly, but your comment here scrapes pretty damn close to xenophobia.  Dial it back.

        "The first drawback of anger is that it destroys your inner peace; the second is that it distorts your view of reality. If you come to understand that anger is really unhelpful, you can begin to distance yourself from anger." - The Dalai Lama

        by auron renouille on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 06:57:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The Definition Of Xenophobia (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ManhattanMan, think blue, rhetoricus

          Is some kind of abnormal fear or loathing.

          I don't 'fear' or 'loathe' anybody or anything, and beyond this these are facts, whether I 'fear' or 'loathe' something is impertinent and just a stupid non sequitur which attempts to make the argument about me.

          The fact that I don't respond in kind to the insults I have received here for the past eight years is not a matter of my not be able to. I could most easily arrange to be that person Miggles would be looking down on no matter how far down in the gutter Miggles would choose to get.

          I don't let other people define me -- I know who I am.

          I've replied to all to be sure and get back to me when they have something more intelligent to add beyond "you're a racist".

          I won't be coming home tonight, my generation will put it right - Genesis 9:3

          by superscalar on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 07:09:58 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's also a red herring (0+ / 0-)

            nobody making these "you're a racist" arguments are people in a class position to be replaced by an undocumented worker. Black brown and red citizens are the ones most likely to lose their jobs, or be overlooked in favor of, an undocumented worker. If you had 2 twin brothers, one born on one side of the border and one more on another, with exactly the same training and qualifications, the non-citizen is the one who would be preferentially hired, because he would cost the employer so much less.

            That's what ALL of this comes down to. Relative cost to the employer and the legitimate cost of labor.

            If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

            by rhetoricus on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 09:12:36 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Those actus (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HappyinNM

      universally occur in almost every country in the world, too.  So I'm wondering what the criteria you use to call them "not accepted".  They aren't legally sanctioned, but in many, many places and in many circumstances they are, in fact, accepted.  

      Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

      by a gilas girl on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 03:50:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  really? (4+ / 0-)

    this sounds like rationalizing being in our country without our country's permission

    is it morally wrong to be in a country without the country's permission?  i don't think so.

    but that doesn't mean that it's okay.  

    is it ultimately morally wrong for someone to be standing in my living room without my permission?  no.  but i am going to make them leave.  

    same thing with people who are in this country without this country's permission.  

    the people of this country are not responsible for the welfare of people of other countries.  includes the people of other countries who are in this country without our permission.  

    nobody in this country is being a bad person for not granting permission to people of other countries to be in this country.  and they are not being a bad person for making those people leave.

    and news flash.  they are being bad people for being pissed off about the fact that people of other countries are in this country without our permission.  no more than i would be a bad person for being pissed at someone standing in my living room without my permission.

    not a SINGLE ONE of the people who are from another country who are in this country without this country's permission would hesitate to MAKE someone who is standing in THEIR living room without permission leave.

    if the people who are from other countries who are here without our permission are pissed that we are pissed at them for being here and that we are making them leave, well, sorry.  welcome to living life on planet earth.

     

    i think my cat is possessed by dick cheney

    by Anton Bursch on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 12:44:21 PM PDT

    •  asdf (11+ / 0-)
      the people of this country are not responsible for the welfare of people of other countries.  includes the people of other countries who are in this country without our permission.
      Oh?
      Social Security officials keep a record of wages that do not match up with real names and numbers in their system. The record is called the earnings suspense file. That total hit a record $90.4 billion, earned by 10.8 million workers, in 2007, just before the recession. Some of those were legal workers who simply made paperwork mistakes, but the majority are believed to be illegal immigrants.

      /snip

      That means about $11.2 billion went into the Social Security Trust Fund in 2007, and $2.6 billion went into Medicare. While that money will be used to pay retirees and health-care beneficiaries, it most likely will never be claimed by the illegal immigrants who contributed it.

      /snip

      In 2009, the last year for which figures are available, employers reported wages of $72.8 billion for 7.7 million workers who could not be matched to legal Social Security numbers.
      /snip

      Most illegal immigrants, however, are accustomed to seeing the Social Security and Medicare taxes taken out and understand they probably will never see it again.

      http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/...

      Most undocumented immigrants pay taxes, from sales to gas to property (their own or through the rent they pay) to utility to virtually every kind of tax you and I do. Some need services. Some send their kids to school

      But my husband and I have always paid property taxes. I've always voted for school bonds and levies. And I don't have any kids, never have, never will. My in-laws always sent their kids to private school and they paid property taxes for public schools too.  So if the children of undocumented workers want to go to school, they can go on my tab.

      Maybe if we required employers to pay them reasonable wages (and actually audited that), if we did not actually BAN health insurers from letting them get their own health insurance, maybe if we didn't run guns into Mexico, maybe then I'd be more outraged by the fact that undocumented workers take their kids and their elders to the emergency room when they get sick.

      But probably not. They're kids and elderly folks. Are we going to let them die in the fields?

      That's not how life on Planet Earth should be. That's how life on Planet Libertarian is.

      But I refuse to live there.

      © grover


      So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

      by grover on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 01:16:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Let's not forget the drug war (4+ / 0-)

        and it's horribly negative effects on Mexico and other countries from which people immigrate to the US.  Pretending that the United States has no role in the corruption and violence in those countries in which we wage the drug war is simply absurd.

        And then there's the small matter that we are perfectly fine letting goods and money flow freely over the border.  Obviously those things are more important than people though.

        There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

        by AoT on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 05:05:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  You are missing the point. (0+ / 0-)

        If I find a stranger standing in my living room, I am going to make them leave.

        Even if they hand be a few dollars to help me out with my gas and electric bills I am still going to make them leave.

        The only way to come into my living room is to be invited.

    •  If it isn't morally wrong to be in (0+ / 0-)

      a country without permission then by definition it is okay, at least, although it may be morally right instead.  That's how morality works, if it isn't wrong then it's either neutral or it's right.

      They may be forced to take some action that is morally wrong if they are going to stay.  You could argue that overstaying your visa is morally wrong because you gave a promise that you would leave by a certain time and did not.  Or you could say that it is wrong to sign employment forms with false information when you are signing to indicate that the information is all true, assuming you think that lying is always wrong.

      The point being, there is no way for an action to be wrong in any way other than morally.

      There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

      by AoT on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 05:01:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  i think we see okay differently in this context (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pee dee fire ant

        when i say it's not okay i mean that we are not okay with it

        my parents are not okay with my not going to church.  am i morally wrong for not going to church because they are not okay with it?  i don't think so.  can they make me go to church?  not anymore.  

        i am not okay with people coming to this country without our country's permission.  i don't think they are bad people for coming here without our permission.  

        i think my cat is possessed by dick cheney

        by Anton Bursch on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 11:07:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The morality is complex (0+ / 0-)

        ..because the power differential is so wide.

        Who is more in the "wrong," the worker who is compelled to sign illegal documents to feed his family, or the illegal employer who exploits his labor and puts law-abiding, worker-respecting competitors out of business?

        Not excusing "lying." But I think someone in this picture should be severely prosecuted, and it ain't the worker.

        If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

        by rhetoricus on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 10:06:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  agreed (8+ / 0-)

    use the proper terms and frame it correctly.

    friends don't let friends call other human beings illegals.

    -You want to change the system, run for office.

    by Deep Texan on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 01:13:40 PM PDT

  •  Does calling someone a hijacker (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ManhattanMan

    dehumanize them?  :P

  •  I don't think this is accurate or practical. (9+ / 0-)

    Most people in this country understand that we are talking about people who entered this country in violation of the law.  "Undocumented immigrant" therefore is not an accurate description. It implies no violation of law other than failure to produce papers that one is supposed to have.

    An accurate statement would "person who entered this country in violation of the law."  Or, for most (unless they entered the country as a child), "person who entered this country in knowing violation of the law," because the majority of people entering this country in violation of the law are aware that they are breaking the law, as evidenced by the methods used to enter the country.  

    Using a phrase like "undocumented" is an attempt to play down the initial knowing violation of United States law.  "Illegal alien" was a shorthand way of conveying that (1) the person is an "alien" in the sense that he/she is a citizen of another country, not of the United States; and (2) "illegal" in the sense that they were here because they entered this country in violation of United States law.  If you have another shorthand that conveys those two points, that might get traction.  But "undocumented immigrant" does not do it.  "Undocumented" does not convey the knowing violation of the law by entering this country; to me, it implies that they entered the country property ("immigrant") but just don't have all the papers in order ("undocumented").    "Illegal immigrant" might do it, but I suspect that the same people who object to "illegal alien" would also object to "illegal immigrant."  

    As a caveat, I completely understand that we have millions of people who entered this country in knowing violation of the law, and I know that we are not going to deport them, and I know that we need some sane way to deal with them.  But I do not agree with attempts to use language to hide the fact that most of the people we are talking about entered this country in knowing violation of  United States law.  That simply hurts your credibility, I think, as it appears to be an attempt to avoid the fact that they entered the country in violation of United States law.  

    •  Did you read the lawyer's explanation? (6+ / 0-)

      It clearly says that "the status of being present in the United States without a visa is not an ongoing criminal violation." So a non-citizen living in this country without a visa could very easily be described as being as an "undocumented immigrant." It clearly describes their present status. Additionally, it respects another human being.

      Your left is my right---Mort Sahl

      by HappyinNM on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 01:59:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  asdf (5+ / 0-)
      Undocumented immigrant" therefore is not an accurate description. It implies no violation of law other than failure to produce papers that one is supposed to have.
      That's exactly what it's supposed to mean. Green card holders (documented immigrants) have to carry their cards with them at all times.When they leave and enter the USA, they have to declare that they are lawful permanent residents (even if they could "pass" for being an American citizen).  

      So not having documents is a BIG deal. Just ask any green card holder.

      As for the crime issue, what happens to undocumented immigrants when they're discovered just being, if they're not breaking any laws?

      They get deported.

      If existing, living, breathing, walking down the street in the USA were a crime, they would get tossed in jail. A trial would be held. They could be sent to prison.

      That's what the USA does with people who do ILLEGAL things.

      We deport undocumented immigrants.

      Why? Because breathing American air, renting an American apartment, sending your kid to an American school, taking your kids to American beaches, going to an American McDonalds -- none of these are crimes.

      Ultimately, though, the diarist's point is that we need to consider all immigrants with respect. And persons who leave one country to live and work in another country are immigrants. Without proper paperwork, they are undocumented immigrants.   The fact that some people want to label our brothers and sisters who may have been here for years -- often decades -- "illegal" based on the fact that they committed a misdemeanor years ago astounds me.

      Do we need to solve the problem of undocumented immigration and the exploited work force? Yes. But I just do not, for the life of me, see how dehumanizing the individuals involved solves or even mitigates the problem. All I see that does is it exacerbates an entrenched "us vs them" mindset, which causes far more problems than it could possibly solve.  

      © grover


      So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

      by grover on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 02:21:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  To me, it seems a pretty transparent (4+ / 0-)

        attempt to play down the violation of the law. That's why I think most people reject the phrase "undocumented immigrant."  

        Are you okay with "person who entered the country in violation of United States law?  

        •  As long as you are sure to add (5+ / 0-)

          XX years ago" each time you refer to an individual's entry -- for starters -- and other relevant information as necessary.  

          After all, we want to be perfectly accurate, don't we? And if we're going to complain about Mr. Rodriquez, "who entered the country in violation of United States law," I'd like you to be sure you mention the fact that it's been 30 years since his entry, that his mother brought him over when he was 7, that he graduated high school and employs 8 other people.... because THAT does NOT dehumanize him but simply explains his situation.  

          And THAT is what the diarist was reasonably requesting.

          Thanks.

          I'm glad we were able to reach a compromise on this.  

          © grover


          So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

          by grover on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 03:07:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It is interesting (5+ / 0-)

            that the "example" you are implying is typical is in fact one of the few that people have worked to remedy, while you have decided to ignore the issue that adults who come here to work were planning on breaking the law to do so.

            Trying to play a linguistic sleight of hand (as you did in this response) will not change the fact that Americans have a diversity of opinions on this topic. Most of them do not agree that people who wish to break the law to immigrate here should be allowed to simply do so, nor that we should have yet another blanket amnesty while doing nothing to fix the situation in the future - which is what will happen yet again, providing even more incentive for people to ignore the law to come here.

        •  Undocumented is a euphemism (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          think blue

          and it's also inaccurate as to many. For many their entry was "documented" in the sense that they came in on a visa and have "Papers" but they overstayed their legal right.

          •  Having expired documentation = (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Shockwave, hazzcon

            no documentation. "Undocumented" is a euphemism for what?

            Your left is my right---Mort Sahl

            by HappyinNM on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 04:40:19 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Undocumented is a fact. (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            HappyinNM, Odysseus, hazzcon, buddabelly

            No current official documents = undocumented. There is no time/space context. Simply, no documentation.

            My attorney is unlicensed. Doesn't matter that he was licensed last year. He forgot to pay the fee, had his license taken away, or is in the hospital unconscious. Doesn't matter. He is unlicensed  

            Could that be any clearer?

            The law relies on facts, not what people "feel" is accurate, appropriate or "euphemistic."

            It's a pesky thing that way.

            © grover


            So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

            by grover on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 04:53:40 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well, if he had never been licensed to (5+ / 0-)

              practice law -- i.e., he had never passed a bar exam -- and, for the past 10 years had held himself out as a licensed attorney, I would call him a 'fraud." I would never call him an unlicensed attorney.  

              The difference is your attorney who is unlicensed was originally an attorney, by virtue of passing the bar and obtaining a license to begin with.  He is more like someone who came here legally, had the legal right to stay, and just did not fill out the papers in order to preserve that legal right to stay.  For that person, I would agree that "undocumented" is accurate.  It implies legal to begin with, but no longer having the necessary paperwork.  

              •  ok, my dog is unlicensed. (0+ / 0-)

                Sheesh.

                © grover


                So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

                by grover on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 06:10:33 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  No, not sheesh (5+ / 0-)

                  This is the crux of the argument. The term "undocumented" is being pushed precisely because it implies something trivial, a technicality - like not licensing one's dog.

                  If a person who never went to medical school tried to get us to call him an "undocumented doctor", we would rightfully think it a ridiculous attempt to muddle and trivialize a serious fraud.

                  We decided to move the center farther to the right by starting the whole debate from a far-right position to begin with. - Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay

                  by denise b on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 08:58:24 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  No. I offered an analogy to clarify. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    buddabelly

                    I did not say it was an exact parallel. I was going to use my dog as my original example, but did not because I did not want to compare humans to dogs. The Point of this diary is about dehumaization of humans after all.

                    An analogy to help clarify.  Not a premise.  

                    My point was and is "undocumented = without current official documentation" and that time and space are irrelevant, which seems to have been lost is the overanalysis of my analogy.

                    Amazing.

                    © grover


                    So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

                    by grover on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 09:25:38 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

            •  an attorney without a license (0+ / 0-)

              is not an attorney.

    •  What of "illegally immigrated alien" as a term? (6+ / 0-)

      In this phrase, the word "illegal" modifies how the person immigrated so it does not imply the person is illegal.

      The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

      by nextstep on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 04:19:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  If you had taken the time to read the diary (0+ / 0-)

      you would know that we are not just talking about people who entered without permission, we are also talking about people who entered legally and then overstayed their visa.  They did at one point have documents and no they don't.  Hence: undocumented.

      There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

      by AoT on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 05:09:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I would agree with that distinction. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        deepinhistory

        Apply "undocumented" to those who entered the country legally, who were legally eligible to stay, and who simply did not do the paperwork necessary to show that they had the right to stay.  The adjective "undocumented" applies to them.

        People who entered this country in violation of United States law and never had a legal basis for being in this country are a different category.  For them, I think the adjective needs to reflect the violation of United States law.  

        •  IF they had the right to stay (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          think blue

          Many people who overstayed their visas would not be allowed to stay if they applied, but would be required to go home and get at the back of the line. And they know it. I would certainly call them illegal rather than undocumented.

          We decided to move the center farther to the right by starting the whole debate from a far-right position to begin with. - Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay

          by denise b on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 09:00:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  A simple (6+ / 0-)

    but vitally important point.

    Thank you

    Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

    by a gilas girl on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 03:20:28 PM PDT

  •  Thank you! (9+ / 0-)

    No humans are illegal.  It's a saying in our family.  

    It's only a way to dehumanize the bigots targets.  

    Illegals
    Deportees
    Unwanted
    Collateral Damage

    If you can dehumanize people then you can do the most inhumane things to them... and sadly be called a "patriot".

    "When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace." ~Jimi Hendrix

    by Damnit Janet on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 03:56:22 PM PDT

  •  Dead on, Damnit Janet! (6+ / 0-)
    If you can dehumanize people then you can do the most inhumane things to them... and sadly be called a "patriot".
  •  My $0.02. (9+ / 0-)

    I think "illegal alien" or "illegal" is dehumanizing.  I think "undocumented worker" is obfuscating.

    I think "illegal immigrant" does the best job of quickly conveying a person's status.  Illegal applies not to the human being, but to how they immigrated, thus the word "immigrant."

    There is plenty of racism in anti-immigrant sentiment.  I condemn that.

    However, I also think there is denial on the left of what a population of workers in a legal gray area produces: more wealth for corporations and others who exploit their labor, and a depression of wages and conditions for citizens and legal immigrants.

    We need to crack down on illegal employers.  Rather than ICE disrupting a single shift at a plant, and letting the next one go on, they need to crack down on the employers who are soliciting people to cross the border illegally to work under the table.

    That was going to be the trade-off for Reagan's amnesty; alas, the corporations didn't want that, so it was written out.

    And the next immigration bill will be like that.  And the next.  It'll all be for the benefit of corporations.  It won't be good for the foreign workers, and it won't be good for American workers.

    Which is why I throw my hands up at the entire immigration debate.  Nothing good for human beings (excepting a few very rich ones) will be done.

    •  In regards to the legal grey area (4+ / 0-)

      and wealth creation.  One of the easy ways to stop that would be to make sure that everyone gets paid minimum wage, whether they have their papers or not.  If immigrants, all of them, have a way to report employers for labor violations then we would be a lot better off all around.  Instead we focus on the individuals and let the companies get away with pretty much anything.

      There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

      by AoT on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 05:15:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Of all the responses in the thread (4+ / 0-)

      this is the one that most represents my own point of view.

      American corporations WANT an un-ending supply of low-wage workers who can't readily unionize, can't report health and safety violations, and don't earn minimum wage.  And what big corporations want, big corporations get.  Penalizing illegal immingrants who show up to labor under these conditions  is just a manifestation of the age-old truth that shit trickles downhill.   It's the employers who profit from it, who are the ones systematically hurting American workers.

      "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

      by lgmcp on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 05:29:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's not just wage (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lgmcp

        Some illegal employers pay minimum wage or better. What they don't pay is Workers' Comp, or for safe working conditions, or payroll tax, or lawsuits for abusing workers or allowing a hostile work environment. These give them an outrageous  and unfair advantage in the marketplace.

        If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

        by rhetoricus on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 08:58:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  No! The proper term is "undocumented (3+ / 0-)

      immigrant" or "out of status immigrant."  These people are NOT "illegal"! -- an immigration lawyer of 25 years.

      The situation in the United States is so dire and psychotic and fucked up that the rate of immigration, both legal and illegal, has gone WAY down!

      The U.S. is so fucked, by its own making.

      It's a BAD thing for the rate of immigration to be going down, but most Americans, including apparently most of the so-called liberals on this blog, don't understand that.

      •  "Undocumented immigrant" is so unwieldy, (0+ / 0-)

        and so gringo PC. Why can't we just say mojado like they do ? I've tried using informal immigrant because that seems to describe folks who just walked across the desert.

        The GOP ... Government of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%

        by Azazello on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 05:40:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Was that meant to be snark? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Azazello, grover

          Mojado translates to wetback. You were kidding, right?

          Your left is my right---Mort Sahl

          by HappyinNM on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 05:54:21 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No, not a SNide remARK, really, and not sarcasm. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            think blue

            I think I understand the issue and I wonder why which term we use, or don't use, is so damned important. This is a huge issue in this country and it seems to me that arguing about words is not getting to the questions of globalization, "free-trade" and etc. The actual, most useful term, by the way, is refugee. Finally, where do you suppose I learned the word mojado ?

            The GOP ... Government of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%

            by Azazello on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 06:00:43 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Please read the update. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Azazello

              It you want to discuss your issues, you are free to write your own diary.

              Your left is my right---Mort Sahl

              by HappyinNM on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 06:05:12 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yeah, I believe I will, (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                think blue

                a series in fact. One final note, there was/is a Kossack who posted under the name "mojada". She was/is an immigration lawyer in L.A. One time I asked her, "Mojada ? I thought the correct term was undocumented worker."
                "Oh," she relpied, "that's just a term gringos use."

                The GOP ... Government of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%

                by Azazello on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 06:10:05 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Well, she was wrong, and you're wrong in (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  HappyinNM

                  following her.

                  You almost get an HR for "gringo."

                  •  We're actually here on the border, a high (0+ / 0-)

                    percentage of the local Mexicans i know use mojado on a regular basis...Some of the most vehemently anti Undocumented migrant individuals I know are Mexican American and in lots of cases, their families became that way as we took the land they lived on....these are 10+ generation Sonorans (considering the whole biome as Sonora).

                    and really an hr for gringo?

                    And yes, most are refugees even if only economic refugees after NAFTA killed the small farm....Why do you think so many of the migrants are from the rural southern states and Chiapas in particular......another reason they die on the long walk because they honestly just have no concept of Desert or what it entails or how futile those 2 gallons they're carrying of water really are..... It just isn't close to being enough to get them to safety....... yet the fucking coyotes (the scum of the earth imo) tell them all will be fine and just keep walking....until they realize they can't make it and abandon their "load" or they take a break to rob and rape the migrants and leave behind those who can't keep up to die slowly in the furnace this place can be.....

                    Not to mention the companies who actively recruit in the villages and promise the job upon arrival.

                    Or the Government that chose, through "Operation Gatekeeper" to consciously move the Migrant traffic from the safe (relatively) cities to the deadly open desert and to turn a migrant population into an immigrant population through extraordinarily heavy border restrictions and actual boots on the ground border guards....
                    they just added another BP station down the hill from me, Tucson sector consistently has more migrants and more apprehensions than any other Sector iirc...

                    Too much time is spent on bullshit while people die in my back yard...it's an abomination and it needs fixed now yet the politicians are too fucking scared to do anything let alone something constructive.......

                    Vaya con Dios Don Alejo
                    I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men.
                    Emiliano Zapata

                    by buddabelly on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 11:05:16 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

            •  Oh no, most undocumented immigrants (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Azazello, HappyinNM

              are NOT refugees, so that is NOT the most useful term.

              And mojado is a slur.

              No, as I said, the proper terms are "undocumented immigrant" or "out of status immigrant," or something like that.

              That's not "gringo" PC!  What a bunch of crap.  That's a matter of being respectful, and legally accurate, towards fellow humans.

              Incidentally, "immigrant" is not a correct term for many out of status people, although the Immigration and Nationality Act presumes that all foreigners are immigrants.  Many of them are out of status through no personal fault and have tremendous reasons for overstaying for awhile, while sincerely intending to return to their home country as soon as they can.

              The nativists who assume that everybody in the world wants to come to the United States are totally crazy.

              •  Cuida, I'm not a nativist. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Carol in San Antonio

                My views are colored by my reading and living 40 years in the Tucson sector. Nobody takes that walk for the fun of it. There are millions of, OK, undocumented workers, here. We ain't gonna' round 'em up and deport 'em, nor can we seal the border. We have to start talking about the larger issues and it's hard for me to get worked up about mere words, that's all.

                The GOP ... Government of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%

                by Azazello on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 06:30:19 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I didn't say, and don't think, that you're (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  HappyinNM, Azazello

                  a nativist!  Good grief, you and I nearly always agree on immigration issues. My former comment just went on beyond a response to you.

                  Of course the human beings are more important than words. But I actually think the words are important here, because it's so much easier to discriminate against and exploit and kill somebody who is dehumanized as "an illegal."

    •  I basically agree (0+ / 0-)

      I agree that a person can never be "illegal" even though their actions or inactions may be criminally wrongful (e.g. those who entered unlawfully) or civilly wrongful (e.g., those who overstayed their visa).  A person can be present lawfully or unlawfully.  They are still a person.  And they may be committing a violation of law.  I'm not wild about "undocumented" because it is not accurate, but "illegal" (with regard to a person, rather than their conduct) is not right either.

      Terminology debates aside, however, raids on employers who do nothing more than hire people who either cannot be in the US or cannot work in the US is not a helpful way of proceeding.

      I think there is something to be said for aggressive criminal and civil penalties and forfeitures -- against employers -- where the employer's hiring of people who cannot legally work in the US is coupled with other labor violations (including but not limited to minimum wage, wage and hour, OSHA or safety regulations, etc.)  or who engage in human trafficking.  Such a policy would laudably diminish the number of exploited workers regardless of their legal right to work in the US or not.

      -6.38 -5.33 "It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees." - Emiliano Zapata

      by electionlawyer on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 06:17:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I side (6+ / 0-)

    with the diarist on this as it has been explained, buttressed by the article from the immigration attorney.

    The "punishment" for crossing illegally is deportation and is handled by immigration courts, and to me, this puts the whole issue in the administrative realm, unless the alien has committed a crime here making them a criminal alien.

    The lawyer also makes the point:

    Our courts wisely look upon status violations with heightened scrutiny, as the creation of status offenses infringe upon personal liberties and carry significant due process concerns.
    The majority of those (maybe not all) who are adamantly opposed to any immigration reform and use the term "illegal alien" are nothing more than bigots.  Maybe it's the bigots we should kick out.
  •  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! (7+ / 0-)

    A lot of this, I sincerely believe, is at least partially based on many articles and speeches that I myself have delivered over the last 25 years, although I can't prove that without outing myself.

    Amen! Amen! Amen!

    I HATE that term "illegal."  Recently I've been on a crusade to correct the editor of my local, rural county newspaper, with some progress.

    Nice diary.

  •  It seems to me that many here are ready to... (3+ / 0-)

    ...round up "illegal aliens" put them in massive concentration camps and then on busloads and trains to be transported and deposited to Mexico.

    It is what was done to over 1 million people in California, Texas and elsewhere in the 1930s, most of whom may have been American citizens;

    This deportation is estimated to have involved 1-2 million people across the United States, with the majority of individuals involved being American born. Actual quotes from oral history interviews conducted by the author and others are included here. This deportation is estimated to have involved 1-2 million people across the United States, with the majority of individuals involved being American born (Balderrama, Rodriguez, 1995).
    Initially that is what the Nazis did to Jews until the war with the Soviets turned into a disaster and they came up with the Final Solution.

    Using the term "illegal" is the first step.

    I was "undocumented" once and I am ready to enlighten those who don't get the difference.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 05:25:08 PM PDT

    •  Watch this video to start your enlightement (4+ / 0-)

      Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

      by Shockwave on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 05:29:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Are all deportations (0+ / 0-)

      .."Nazi" in your opinion? Should we open the borders entirely, or remove all enforcement of VISAs? (I'm very serious in asking that question. I support open borders.) If not, is it entirely different if deportation is accomplished one by one?

      The people who were deported from Nazi Germany were for the most part born there and had been there their whole lives. I don't recall hearing that people who were deported from the US in the 1930's were gassed or gunned down. This comparison approaches Godwin.

      If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

      by rhetoricus on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 09:30:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Deportations are not "Nazi" per se (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rhetoricus

        But when you call "illegal" millions of people who have been living in a country, working hard and paying taxes for years and your only solution is to deport them all, regardless of the consequences, you are going in the same direction as the Nazis.

        The people who were deported in the 30s suffered great loses even if they were not gassed.  It was when the war with the Soviets started going bad and the Jews could not be dropped far East of Germany that the Nazis thought of the "final solution".

        Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

        by Shockwave on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 04:47:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I doubt very much (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Shockwave

          ..we will have mass deportations like they saw in the 30s, but it is interesting that Obama's administration has stepped them up well above what was happening under W, and it does not seem to have cost him with Latino voters.

          I would prefer open borders and a vigorously enforced law that just saw to it that employers did not derive a cost advantage based on the authorization status of workers (no "two tiered" labor system), and that all workplace rights afforded to citizen workers would apply to workers from out of the country. If all labor (with the same job description) cost an employer the same amount regardless of the status of the worker, employers would hire on a skill basis alone, and not with intent to gain an unfair advantage in the marketplace by exploiting people.

          It would be tough to enforce, but much cheaper than policing the border and doing INS raids. I'd like to see guilty employers paying hefty damages to migrant workers they've exploited.

          If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

          by rhetoricus on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 05:30:10 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  thank you (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HappyinNM

    Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean there isn't an invisible demon about to eat your face - H. Dresden.

    by bnasley on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 05:30:09 PM PDT

  •  Excellent and I might add (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HappyinNM, Carol in San Antonio

    I shared this about the same time last year. I'm glad that you brought it up in such a thoughtful way.

    I'm with you on this subject.

  •  In song (3+ / 0-)
    There was a time when strangers were welcome here
    It was a time they'd tell me the days were sweet and clear
    It was a sweeter tune
    And there was so much room
    The people could come from everywhere

    ---Neil Sedaka

    •  That's my era, but I'm not familiar with it. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AZ Sphinx Moth, cka

      But I really like it.

      From my childhood:
      It Could Be a Wonderful World

      Chorus
      If we could consider each other
      A neighbor, a friend, or a brother
      It could be a wonderful, wonderful world
      It could be a wonderful world

      If there were no poor and the rich were content
      If strangers were welcomed wherever they went
      If each of us knew what true brotherhood meant
      It could be a wonderful world.

      Your left is my right---Mort Sahl

      by HappyinNM on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 08:04:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is sophistry (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    deepinhistory, pee dee fire ant

    "Legal" and "illegal" don't describe the person's humanity, they describe the word "alien".

    To buy this premise you have to pretend not to understand basic grammar. Adjectives modify specific nouns.  "Mediocre cellist" does not mean "mediocre person". "Slow reader" does not mean "slow person". "Undocumented alien" does not mean "undocumented person". Are we actually going to pretend we don't know the difference?

    Calling people "illegals" is offensive, true, but calling them illegal aliens is accurate and appropriate. It is exactly what I would expect to be called if I were living and working in another country without having applied for and obtained the permit to do so.

    Calling people undocumented is an attempt to imply that their lack of papers is a minor technicality. But it is not a technicality, and changing the word is not going to turn it into one.

    We decided to move the center farther to the right by starting the whole debate from a far-right position to begin with. - Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay

    by denise b on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 08:41:42 PM PDT

    •  If I Want To Change The Terms Of The Debate (0+ / 0-)

      I first have to define what are the acceptable terms of said debate -- if I can then achieve some 'popular' definition of what a word means and more importantly doesn't mean, I'm well on my way to winning the debate.

      I won't be coming home tonight, my generation will put it right - Genesis 9:3

      by superscalar on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 08:46:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The word alien is the person (0+ / 0-)

      Illegal describes the person.

      There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

      by AoT on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 10:11:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'd prefer to put the onus (0+ / 0-)

      on the illegal employer only. They're the ones avoiding taxes and legitimate costs associated with labor.

      If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

      by rhetoricus on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 08:21:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  OK. Let's not say, "illegals" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Americantrueandblue

    Let's say, "Job-stealing, scab, cheap laborers brought in by the 1% to lower American Wages and weaken the bargaining power of American Workers, (especially poor and undereducated workers), who can't even vote to or call the cops to defend themselves from exploitation".

    Better? It is certainly more accurate.

    Immigration is a serious economic issue. I think we should be the party that recognizes this and offers solutions.

    We should not be the party that plays word-games. Let the Republicans re-name their potatoes "freedom fries". We need to be above that sort of hookum.

    Consider a roofer in Western Pennsylvania who lost his job to cheap labor. Do think he will vote for the party that is having Deep Debates over what to call the guy who took his job?

    We need to:

    1) Punish employers who hire illegals.

    2) Get a "path to citizenship" for legal immigrants. (Citizenship. Not "green cards" or "I'm-Here-Because-a-Big-Corporation-Likes-Me" visas. Full Citizenship. Otherwise, they are just legalized scabs).

    3) Make sure that nobody who has come here without proper documentation gets to jump the line ahead of those who obeyed our laws.

    More solutions and less semantics, please!

    •  Cesar Chavez: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ManhattanMan

      ". . . when the farm workers strike and their strike is successful, the employers go to Mexico and have unlimited, unrestricted use of illegal alien strikebreakers to break the strike. And, for over 30 years, the Immigration and Naturalization Service has looked the other way and assisted in the strikebreaking. I do not remember one single instance in 30 years where the Immigration Service has removed strikebreakers. . . .The employers use professional smugglers to recruit and transport human contraband across the Mexican border for the specific act of strikebreaking . . .”

      If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

      by rhetoricus on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 08:24:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It seems you are conflating two different issues. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rhetoricus, SwedishJewfish

      The purpose of this diary was to request that we, as a progressive/liberal community, refer to a certain group of people in a proper and respectful manner. Rather than saying "no, I don't want to do that," you're attacking the US economic system brought to you by the Repukes---cheap labor with no benefits. Scabs are a quick fix. Mexicans (we're mostly talking about Mexicans) provided a way for employers to have cheap labor with no benefits as a permanent economic reality. Employers liked it so much, Congress passed the 1986 amnesty bill (I don't know its actual name) and Reagan happily signed it. When Gingrich said that grandmothers who have been in this country for 25 years can stay, he was saying nothing. 1986 was 25 years ago. My point is that your anger is misplaced. Mexicans have been tending our fields and orchards since right after WWII. Then other employers wanted to get the benefit of cheap labor, so more people willing to work for low wages were allowed to come here. Those people are undocumented immigrants. They have made a life for themselves and their families in this country. They are human being and they don't deserve your scorn. Direct your anger at those who are responsible for the diminishment of your country. You know who I mean.

      Your left is my right---Mort Sahl

      by HappyinNM on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 09:58:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not technically "allowed" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dirtandiron

        ..or their working here wouldn't be considered illegal by the Feds. But certainly enticed by greedy employers who wanted to bust unions and exploit laborers, and the Feds turned a blind eye to the fount of the problem--even going so far as to exempt exploitative employers from punishment for a good long time.

        If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

        by rhetoricus on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 10:21:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I am aginst trying to... (0+ / 0-)

        ...name-change the problem of illegals. Doing so is a thinly veiled attempt to convince people that illegals are not a problem when they clearly are. I will not participate in this attempt at "re-framing".

        Fretting over names also makes us look like we don't care about the Americans who are losing jobs. You remember Americans? They are the ones who have votes...

        I think we agree on the evils of the economic system. No argument there.

        I think where we disagree is that I want illegal aliens to go home. I don't want them here.  I don't want to re-frame, euphamise, or sugar-coat the issue to try to make them seem more acceptable.

        The same goes for legal H1-B immigrants also. We have plenty of unemployed college graduates in America! Many are the first in their family to go to college...and we hit them with cheap competition from overseas. That's not right!

        Illegals chose to come here. If illegals don't like being called "illegals", then they can go home. Then they won't be illegal any more. Until then, I will call them what they are, based on the choices they have made, and continue to make.

  •  To make progress on this issue, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rhetoricus

    I think we'd need to do two things:

    1) separate the words with which we refer to people from our preferred legal remedies.  For example, it's possible for someone to accept the term "illegal alien" and advocate complete amnesty, or to use "undocumented immigrant" and believe that all should be deported.

    2) we should focus on the concept before we discuss which words to use.  Do we believe there should be a way to refer to people as "being in the US without a legal right"?

    •  If we are for completely open borders, (0+ / 0-)

      then no. But if we are for completely open borders, we need to let everybody in. Absolutely everybody. Starting with the 4 million Iraqis whose country we destroyed.

      And we need to figure out how they will be supported, once they are here.

      If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

      by rhetoricus on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 08:19:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "Illegal employers" (0+ / 0-)

    ..is what I would prefer, meaning the folks who derive huge cost advantage (and thus a huge unfair advantage in the marketplace) based simply and only on the authorization status of people they exploit.

    If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

    by rhetoricus on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 08:17:30 AM PDT

  •  . (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Americantrueandblue, Pozzo

    playing games with language regarding immigration issues does not help 'democratic' principles at all.  It perverts it, just like Bush did with the word 'freedom'

    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws." Mayer Amschel Rothschild, 1790

    by FreeTradeIsYourEpitaph on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 09:19:14 AM PDT

  •  I am too irritated by the comments (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HappyinNM

    to formulate a proper response, but I just wanted to thank you for this diary. I worked in community healthcare, primarily with the undocumented population, and people have NO idea.

    I've said before, I will say again-as a mother, if I was in the position these people were in back home, you better believe I would cross that boarder. And I would do it illegally if I had to.

    You must work-we all must work-for a world that is worthy of its children. - Pablo Casals. Please donate to TREE Climbers, our 501(c)(3).

    by SwedishJewfish on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 12:24:38 PM PDT

  •  No one is saying people are "illegal" (0+ / 0-)

    its they're legal status that is illegal. That's just common sense. Lets cut through the bullshit cake here.

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