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'Illegal': Slur or accurate label?
Atlanta Journal Constitution ^ | 1/28/04 | Rick Badie

Posted on 01/28/2004 7:35:34 PM PST by NortNork

'Undocumented' preferred by some for certain immigrants; others see cover-up

By RICK BADIE The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

For Jerry Gonzalez, the term "illegal immigrant" packs as much vitriol as some racial slurs.

Many Latinos, he said, find it offensive.

"It's easy to dismiss someone when you use a disparaging term such as 'illegal immigrant' or 'illegal alien,' " surmised Gonzalez, who oversees the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials, an Atlanta-based political action committee.

"I can't speak for other immigrant groups," he said, "but on behalf of the Latino community, many people I speak to on a day-to-day basis think it serves to dehumanize the person, makes them less than human. Similar to the way the n-word was used to dehumanize African-Americans."

It's not a pressing matter for the association, but the issue of what to call the state's 228,000 illegal immigrants has taken up space on the group's 2004 legislative agenda.

Gonzalez, the executive director, plans to lobby state lawmakers to use the term "undocumented workers" when talking about Mexicans and other foreigners here illegally.

"It's a more accurate reflection of people who provide a great deal for the economy," he said.

Gonzalez's reference that the term "illegal immigrant" prompts derision does not carry weight with some others.

"I don't think so at all," said Victor Davis Hanson, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and author of "Mexifornia: A State of Becoming." "It doesn't describe a person in a negative, pejorative way. It means they don't have U.S. citizenship and that they didn't come to the United States in a lawful manner."

" 'Illegal' means you came as an immigrant, and broke the law," said Hanson, who founded the classics studies department at Fresno State University "It's a precise term, and not just for Mexicans."

D.A. King, founder of the American Resistance Foundation, a Marietta-based group that seeks tougher enforcement of immigration laws, said the term "undocumented workers" is "a politically correct invention to soften the brutal fact that these people are breaking the law."

"A good comparison would be to say a bank robber simply made an unauthorized withdrawal," he said.

But Mexicans who make illegal border crossings for job-rich cities like Atlanta "have no choice" but to break the law, said Victoria Chacon, founder and president of the South East Hispanic Media Association.

Term of choice

In La Vision de Georgia, the Spanish language newspaper she publishes Monday through Friday, Chacon has adopted "undocumented workers" as the term of choice.

"I don't think it's illegal to come here, work hard, and live in peace," she said. "They come for their family, risk their lives to find a better lifestyle."

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and many other news organizations use both "undocumented immigrants" and "illegal immigrants" in describing foreigners who are in the country illegally.

Meanwhile, Gonzalez of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials says illegal residents fall into two categories: foreigners who never got the proper papers or those who received them, but allowed them to lapse.

"Either way they are here," Gonzalez said, "undocumented in this country. The term 'illegal alien' works to discredit the honest and thoughtful discussion that needs to take place in reforming immigration policy. It doesn't move the discussion beyond the fact that we have 8 million to 12 million undocumented immigrants in this country because of our failed immigration policy."

The Centers for Immigration Studies, a nonpartisan think tank in Washington, credits the Immigration and Naturalization Service (now the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services) with inventing the term "undocumented workers" during the Carter administration.

"People wanted a P.C. word that downplayed the illegality of illegal immigration," said Mark Krikorian, the center's executive director. "It has no basis in law." To his knowledge, there aren't any other campaigns to encourage use of "undocumented workers." Not that it's needed.

"It's been spreading," said Krikorian, who called comparing the term "illegal immigrants" to the n-word "an outrage."

"You are either an unlawful alien, or an illegal alien," he said.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: aliens; borderjumpers; illegalaliens; immigration; insurgents; slur; wetbacks

1 posted on 01/28/2004 7:35:35 PM PST by NortNork
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To: NortNork
I guess it's time for the left-wing Stalinists to outlaw another word.
2 posted on 01/28/2004 7:36:43 PM PST by Reactionary
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To: NortNork
Local talk radio KFI 640 has a pair of 'gadflies' called "John and Ken". A caller the other referred to himself five times as an "illegal citizen" and they never called him on it.
3 posted on 01/28/2004 7:38:44 PM PST by BenLurkin (Socialism is Slavery)
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To: NortNork; gubamyster
'Illegal': Slur or accurate label?

Accurate.

Ping.

Marine Inspector

4 posted on 01/28/2004 7:39:52 PM PST by Marine Inspector (Tancredo for President 2004 / Russell Pearce for Congress 2004)
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To: NortNork
According to Websters.

Illegal : not according to or authorized by law : UNLAWFUL, ILLICIT; also : not sanctioned by official rules.

whats the problem?
5 posted on 01/28/2004 7:40:48 PM PST by cripplecreek (.50 cal border fence)
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To: cripplecreek
The problem seems to be that the truth is not desirable for some segments of the population.
6 posted on 01/28/2004 7:42:35 PM PST by BenLurkin (Socialism is Slavery)
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To: NortNork
"I don't think it's illegal to come here, work hard, and live in peace," [Victoria Chacon] said.

This is a relatively tricky bit of rhetoric. What she meant, but not what she said, is "I don't think it should be illegal to come here..." She clearly knows that these people are breaking the law, and therefore are here illegaly. However, by phrasing things in this manner, she is far more effective. As Mark Twain said, "A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." I believe that if anyone really wants to make a difference, they need to take a lesson from people like her (Arabs are particularly good at this game).

7 posted on 01/28/2004 7:44:33 PM PST by psychoknk
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To: NortNork
If someone broke the law to get here, or breaks it now by working under the table or engaging in identity theft and fraud, they're illegal aliens. Not a terrifically complicated legal point.

To think that someone can even imagine equating the factual term, "illegal alien", with the truly nasty word, "nigger", is astonishing.

Such an attempt at comparison demonstrates the comparer's grotesque ignorance not just of history, but of the English language itself.


8 posted on 01/28/2004 7:44:56 PM PST by Gefreiter
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To: NortNork
ILLEGAL ALIEN is neither "SLUR", nor "ACCURATE".

It is H O N E S T. Plain and simple. H O N E S T.
9 posted on 01/28/2004 7:45:44 PM PST by Howie66 ("America will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our people.")
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To: BenLurkin
No kidding, theres an ordinance in jackson that prohibits "racially devisive terms, words, or speech."

You can however say the dreaded "N" word in your home as long as it isnt loud enough to be heard outside.
10 posted on 01/28/2004 7:46:18 PM PST by cripplecreek (.50 cal border fence)
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To: Reactionary
" 'Illegal' means you came as an immigrant, and broke the law," said Hanson, who founded the classics studies department at Fresno State University "It's a precise term, and not just for Mexicans."

So, why can't people who understand English, see the truth?? If the illegals want to come here, go by the rules and you won't be illegal any more. What is the problem here?? Just do the right thing. If not, we don't want you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
11 posted on 01/28/2004 7:47:21 PM PST by Ethyl
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To: NortNork
Too many Latinos are illiterate in two languages. "Illegal immigrant" is a precise word use. It does not imply a value judgement, it's just a description, and an accurate one at that. Are we supposed to use corporate mush because they're unhappy about it?
12 posted on 01/28/2004 7:51:48 PM PST by henderson field
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To: NortNork
Gee, to me and most other American citizens this phrase "illegal immigrant" is not very difficult to decipher.

I don't believe anyone is disputing the word immigrant. As long as I have been speaking the English language (and remember, we are talking English, the language spoken by most Americans) the word immigrant has referred to someone who came from another country to make his home here in the USA.

That leaves just the word illegal. Either you do something within the bounds of the law or you don't. If it is within the bounds of the law, it is illegal. If it is outside the rule of law, it is illegal.

Sorry, but the painful truth is that if you are an immigrant and are not here legally, with the proper visa and other legal papers, you are an illegal immigrant. And if you find the term "illegal immigrant" insulting or demeaning or hurtful, feel free to go back to your country of origin.
13 posted on 01/28/2004 7:52:17 PM PST by WayneM (Cut the KRAP (Karl Rove Amnesty Plan). Call your elected officials and say "NO!!")
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To: NortNork
We've already agreed to not use the wetback anymore. I think they are pressing their luck.
14 posted on 01/28/2004 7:53:14 PM PST by Rightwing Conspiratr1
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To: NortNork
Chacon has adopted "undocumented workers" as the term of choice.

What about the ones who don't work? For example, criminals? If somebody is a forger, I guess he would be a undocumented document creator.

15 posted on 01/28/2004 7:56:16 PM PST by Steve Eisenberg
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To: NortNork
"Similar to the way the n-word was used to dehumanize African-Americans."

Well, it's obvious where this is going. Personally, I don't care how they dress it up, I refuse to use any other term than illegal alien, because that is exactly what they are! If that makes them feel bad, maybe that's a good thing. A person'ts conscience should condemn them when they are commiting crimes and usurping privileges not rightfully theirs. If they don't like it, tough! I'm not going to try to make them feel better about stealing from my country.

16 posted on 01/28/2004 7:59:39 PM PST by sweetliberty ("Better to keep silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.")
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To: NortNork
You know George Orwell had it right on the language thing. Control the language and you control the ability to express thought. And those who control the past control the future. When confronted with an ethical issue the solution is to change the terms in order to make it palatible. Pervert becomes Queer becomes Gay. Baby becomes Fetus. Yada yada yada. poopie.



17 posted on 01/28/2004 8:01:20 PM PST by Rightwing Conspiratr1
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To: NortNork
"A good comparison would be to say a bank robber simply made an unauthorized withdrawal,"

LOL! I'll have to remember that one.

18 posted on 01/28/2004 8:02:50 PM PST by sweetliberty ("Better to keep silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.")
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To: NortNork
In La Vision de Georgia, the Spanish language newspaper she publishes Monday through Friday, Chacon has adopted "undocumented workers" as the term of choice.



What then do you call those who do not work, the "undocumented non-workers"? How about the ones who are here stealing cars, "undocumneted car thief"? OOPs, sorry, can`t use the word thief. "undocumented car-jacker" , darn, can`t use car-jacker either huh. Crook ? No. Bandit? No. Robber? No. Filcher? No. Defrauder? No. Lawbreaker? No. Sneak ? No. OH , I give up......
19 posted on 01/28/2004 8:02:54 PM PST by Peace will be here soon (Beware, there are some crazy people around here !!! And I could be one of them !!)
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To: sweetliberty
Yes,it is illegal to come here and look for a job without proper papers,without permission.Illegal means against the law.They operate outside the law.
20 posted on 01/28/2004 8:04:06 PM PST by MEG33 (America will never seek a permission slip to provide for the security of our country)
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To: NortNork
If that's the case then I'll bet ya "wetback" really pizzes him off.
21 posted on 01/28/2004 8:04:50 PM PST by Robert Lomax
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To: NortNork
"But Mexicans who make illegal border crossings for job-rich cities like Atlanta "have no choice" but to break the law"

HUH? Does this mean that Vincente is actually driving them to the border and forcing them at gunpoint to cross and then making sure they can't turn back. Give me a break! How stupid does this bimbo think we are?

22 posted on 01/28/2004 8:05:18 PM PST by sweetliberty ("Better to keep silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.")
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To: NortNork
I thought that we are all supposed to call 'em undocumented now...

How long before we gots to start calling 'em something else? What's the next term, non-notaried or something? I reckon damp-posteriored is out...

23 posted on 01/28/2004 8:05:25 PM PST by maxwell (Well I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't under such heavy sedation...)
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To: NortNork
But Mexicans who make illegal border crossings for job-rich cities like Atlanta "have no choice" but to break the law, said Victoria Chacon, founder and president of the South East Hispanic Media Association.

...

"I don't think it's illegal to come here, work hard, and live in peace," she said. "They come for their family, risk their lives to find a better lifestyle."

Why don't they consider the "choice" of staying in their country and trying to improve the conditions there?

What is fundamentally wrong with Mexico that staying and improving the conditions there is not considered a more moral choice?

-PJ

24 posted on 01/28/2004 8:05:38 PM PST by Political Junkie Too (It's not safe yet to vote Democrat.)
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To: NortNork
""I don't think it's illegal to come here, work hard, and live in peace," she said"

This b***h isn't terribly literate is she? Hello!!! Illegal means unlawful which means it is against the law as the law is written....and guess what. Just because YOU don't think it's illegal doesn't make it any more legal. Bless your heart, you are dumber than a box of rocks aren't you?

25 posted on 01/28/2004 8:10:06 PM PST by sweetliberty ("Better to keep silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.")
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To: NortNork
ILLEGAL ALIEN.
26 posted on 01/28/2004 8:11:19 PM PST by Viking2002
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To: Rightwing Conspiratr1
Who is this "we"? Speak for yourself.
27 posted on 01/28/2004 8:13:00 PM PST by TXnMA (No Longer!!! -- and glad to be back home (and warm) in God's Country!!)
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To: NortNork
How about 'law breaking criminal foreigners?'
28 posted on 01/28/2004 8:15:05 PM PST by TigersEye (Regime change in the courts. Impeach activist judges!)
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To: NortNork
"The term 'illegal alien' works to discredit the honest and thoughtful discussion that needs to take place in reforming immigration policy."

Uhhh, no, idiot, it identifies them as precisely what they are....aliens (that means: owing political allegiance to another country or government; foreign) and they are illegal (reiterating: not lawful). It's called correct use of the language (which in America is English, btw). You should try it sometime. Simplifies things immensely when you use the correct terminology in commucications.

29 posted on 01/28/2004 8:15:54 PM PST by sweetliberty ("Better to keep silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.")
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To: gubamyster; Dutchy; sarcasm; RaceBannon
Just when you think you've read it all.
30 posted on 01/28/2004 8:17:20 PM PST by StarFan
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To: NortNork
I don't think it's illegal to come here, work hard, and live in peace

It is if you come here illegally.

31 posted on 01/28/2004 8:24:20 PM PST by Bubba_Leroy
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To: NortNork
How about "criminals without borders"?
32 posted on 01/28/2004 8:28:36 PM PST by Henchman (I Hench, therefore I am!)
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To: NortNork
They don't like being called "illegal immigrants"? Oh, poor babies. How about I call them CRIMINAL INVADERS?! Maybe they'll like that better.
33 posted on 01/28/2004 8:35:22 PM PST by Nea Wood (Democrats - they throw OUR money at THEIR problems.)
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To: Bubba_Leroy
They are not American so they are foreign. They are not law biding citizens, they are criminals breaks the laws of the land. Hence they are foreign criminals.

34 posted on 01/28/2004 8:36:28 PM PST by Kozy (Calling Al Gore)
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To: NortNork
"Illegal aliens" is the term used in the U.S. Code. See, just for one example, "Authorizing State and local law enforcement officials to arrest and detain certain illegal aliens": http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/8/1252c.html

It's interesting to analyze news reports' use of these terms. A San Jose Mercury News story got almost everything wrong: http://lonewacko.com/blog/archives/000927.html

And, here's a correction of an Arizona Republic story: http://lonewacko.com/blog/archives/000897.html

I think if you keep hammering this point about language home, and keep showing the statements of the "leaders" quoted above for what they are, eventually it will sink in.
35 posted on 01/28/2004 8:37:12 PM PST by lonewacko_dot_com (http://lonewacko.com/blog)
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To: Henchman
Personally, my current favorite is "soggy dorsaled", however, I am willing to accept "criminal migrant".
36 posted on 01/28/2004 8:37:29 PM PST by antiantiamericans
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To: NortNork
If people are offended by the term 'illegal', I am willing to start using "filthy criminal" instead.
37 posted on 01/28/2004 8:39:34 PM PST by Sloth (Why fight foreign enemies if we are surrendering to the domestic ones?)
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To: NortNork
How about CRIMINAL INVADERS?
38 posted on 01/28/2004 8:43:30 PM PST by HuntsvilleTxVeteran (A little knowledge is dangerous.-- I live dangerously::))
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To: antiantiamericans
"Criminal Migrant" is excellent and close, but what if they stay in one place? Ciminally unemplyed?
39 posted on 01/28/2004 8:49:07 PM PST by Henchman (I Hench, therefore I am!)
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To: NortNork
"Many Latinos, he said, find it offensive."

So?

40 posted on 01/28/2004 8:53:29 PM PST by El Gran Salseron (It translates as the Great, Big Dancer, nothing more. :-))
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Comment #41 Removed by Moderator

To: Marine Inspector
Illegal alien is too mamby pamby. It should be

CRIMINAL INVADER!


42 posted on 01/28/2004 10:17:58 PM PST by Travis McGee (----- www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com -----)
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To: Steve Eisenberg
What about the ones who don't work? For example, criminals?

Undocumented felons?

43 posted on 01/28/2004 11:01:40 PM PST by Benjo
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To: maxwell
What's the next term, non-notaried or something?

Pre-amnestied.

Although I do like 'documentation challenged'

44 posted on 01/29/2004 2:48:07 PM PST by Right Wing Professor
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To: NortNork
Call them what Bush called them "Citizens of the World."
Except its not the world they are stealing from it is the American tax payers.
45 posted on 01/29/2004 2:52:04 PM PST by swampfox98 (Beyond 2004)
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To: NortNork
I FIND "ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT" TO BE AN OUTRAGEOUS, OFFENSIVE SLUR!
They're not "immigrants," they are aliens. Immigrants intend to become a part of the society they are joining. Aliens are intruders and exploiters. On behalf of many immigrant friends of mine, I am deeply offended by this slandering of immigrants.
46 posted on 01/29/2004 3:07:36 PM PST by dangus
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To: Ethyl
Liberals want to erase words that have anything to do with the idea of inequality. They appear to believe that by altering the structure of language they will then be able to restructure the categories of thought.

At bottom, they're Orwellian and Stalinist.

47 posted on 01/30/2004 1:02:09 PM PST by Reactionary
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