Why “Illegal Immigrant”is a Slur

Last month’s Supreme Court decision in the landmark Arizona immigration case was groundbreaking for what it omitted: the words “illegal immigrants” and “illegal aliens,” except when quoting other sources. The court’s nonjudgmental language established a humanistic approach to our current restructuring of immigration policy, writes special CNN contributor Charles Garcia.

An excerpt from Garcia’s article follows. “When you label someone an ‘illegal alien’ or ‘illegal immigrant’ or just plain ‘illegal,’ you are effectively saying the individual, as opposed to the actions the person has taken, is unlawful. The terms imply the very existence of an unauthorized migrant in America is criminal,” writes Garcia.

In this country, there is still a presumption of innocence that requires a jury to convict someone of a crime, he writes. “If you don’t pay your taxes, are you an illegal? What if you get a speeding ticket? A murder conviction? No. You’re still not an illegal. Even alleged terrorists and child molesters aren’t labeled illegals,” comments Garcia.

“New York Times editorial writer Lawrence Downes says ‘illegal’ is often ‘a code word for racial and ethnic hatred.’”

The term “illegal immigrant” was first used in 1939 as a slur by the British toward Jews who were fleeing the Nazis and entering Palestine without authorization. Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel aptly said that “no human being is illegal.”

“Migrant workers residing unlawfully in the U.S. are not—and never have been—criminals. They are subject to deportation, through a civil administrative procedure that differs from criminal prosecution, and where judges have wide discretion to allow certain foreign nationals to remain here,” continued Garcia.

“Another misconception is that the vast majority of migrant workers currently out of status sneak across our southern border in the middle of the night,” wrote Garcia. “Actually, almost half enter the U.S. with a valid tourist or work visa and overstay their allotted time. Many go to school, find a job, get married and start a family. And some even join the Marine Corps, like Lance Cpl. Jose Gutierrez, who was the first combat veteran to die in the Iraq War. While he was granted American citizenship posthumously, there are another 38,000 non-citizens in uniform, including undocumented immigrants, defending our country.”

Robbers Target Asian Families In Tacoma

According to KOMO News, police are looking for a group of thieves who are responsible for a series of armed robberies targeting Asian families in the Tacoma area.

The suspects have targeted seven different families in seven different home invasion robberies since December. The robbers are armed with handguns and tie up their victims before ransacking the valuables from their houses. All seven robberies occurred East Tacoma between South Hosner and McKinley Avenue, and between South 96th and South 64th. Aside from the proximity of the homes, investigators have not found any connection between the victims. However, they believe the incidents are related.

“Most of the victims are Asian,” said Tacoma police spokesman Mark Fulghum. “They are usually middle-aged to elderly, and they all have individual residence.”
The most recent incident occurred on June 29 when thieves tied up a family of four, including an 8-year-old child.

According to police, men wearing black clothing and covering their faces with blue bandanas barged into homes. Armed with handguns, they tied up the victims as they communicated with a woman via walkie-talkies. They then proceeded to ransack the houses, eventually taking valuables with them.

The suspects are described as being Asian or Hispanic males in their 20s. They are armed with handguns and wear masks.

No one has been seriously hurt in the incidents, but investigators worry that may change.
“Somebody could fight back; something could change. And we’re just hoping we can take care of this before anyone else gets hurt,” said Fulghum.

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