Monday, September 24, 2012

The New York Times Using Term Illegal Immigrants Is Correct

The York Times Public Editor had a interesting blog post defending their use of illegal alien and illegal immigrant. She says in part :

....But in referring in general terms to the issue of people living in the United States without legal papers, we do think the phrases “illegal immigrants” and “illegal immigration” are accurate, factual and as neutral as we can manage under the circumstances. It is, in fact, illegal to enter, live or work in this country without valid documents. Some people worry that we are labeling immigrants as “criminals” — but we’re not. “Illegal” is not a synonym for “criminal.” (One can even park “illegally,” though it’s not a criminal offense.)

Proposed alternatives like “undocumented” seem really to be euphemisms — as though this were just a bureaucratic mix-up that can easily be remedied. Often those phrases seem deliberately chosen to try to soften or minimize the significance of the lack of legal status. We avoid those euphemisms just as we avoid phrases that tend to cast a more pejorative light on immigrants. For example, we steer clear of the shorthand “illegals” and also the word “aliens,” both of which we think have needlessly negative connotations.

I largely agree with that though personally I don't find the term alien all that negative.  So I often used both.

That being said as a pragmatic supporter of immigration reform that includes pathway to citizenship I support those terms. When trying to persuade a person that is open to some pathway to citizenship to call these people  undocumented immigrant just causes their eyes to roll. These people are open to immigration reform but want some assurance we shall be doing this again in twenty years. Usually such terms  that downgrades the fact that people entered the country illegally or overstayed their visas . I find this generally stops the discussion and just makes them mad.

Further the term "undocumented" gives ammunition to opponenets of immigration reform that say the ultimate goal is just "open borders". A charge that many of us that support immigration reform have to spend a great time disputing .


APOV said...

The reason that I don't say the PC term "undocumented worker" is because the illegal immigrants usually do have documents. The Americans who exploit them as cheap labor usually provide them with fake documents. Most people who say "immigration reform" are talking about another giant amnesty of rewarding those who are here illegally with citizen, such as was perpetrated against us by the Reagan administration in 1984. That is when it became known throughout the world that the path to American citizenship is to just illegally invade the country and take it over from the inside.

James H said...

Well Its not exactluy an amnesty since there would be requirements to get Citizenship. Its a hard issue but now that these people have kids here and are married to often to Americans well politicaly no self deportation is going to happen

Anonymous said...

We can understand why people risk everything to find a better life. Africans look to Europe just as South and Central Americans look to North America for opportunity. Europe has an open borders policy within the European Union (EU) that makes it difficult to track anyone once they have entered a European country. Europe’s answer (so far) has been to try to interdict ships at sea and return all illegal aliens they find en flagrante. Switzerland’s reasonable law to deport any foreigner convicted of a serious crime is met with outcries of “human rights” violations. Nonsense! Banishing criminals is justice. A great concern in Europe is the number of Muslims already there who help and protect each other. Islam is now the fastest-growing religion in Europe (and Africa).

Several countries (Italy for Ecuadorians and Spain for Hondurans) have discovered that the tightening economic situation in the United States has caused an influx of South and Central Americans, all of whom require no visas to enter any country of the EU. France is beset with African immigrants, many from its former colony Algeria. Most North Africans are Muslims. France has suffered street violence that has caused an outcry to send all illegals back where they came from. Europe has not found common ground for forging a political solution. Further, of greatest concern is that lacking border checks between member states, Europeans are very opposed to admitting Turkey’s 40 million Muslims to the EU.

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