“Illegal Alien” is an accurate descriptive term

illegal immigrants

David “M-m-m-my” Sirota at Salon:

There are no “illegal immigrants”

As one of the world’s largest news outlets, the Associated Press’s linguistic mandates significantly shape the broader vernacular. So when the organization this week decided to stop using the term “illegal immigrant,” it was a big victory for objectivity and against the propagandistic language of bigotry.

Cautious AP executives did not frame it exactly that way. Instead, editor Kathleen Carroll portrayed the decision as one in defense of grammar, saying that the term “illegal” properly “describe(s) only an action” and that it is not an appropriate label to describe a human being.

“Illegal,” of course, has been used as more than a mere label — it has for years been used as an outright epithet by xenophobes. They abhor the notion of America becoming more diverse — and specifically, more non-white — and so they have tried to convert “illegal” into a word that specifically dehumanizes Latinos. Thus, as any honest person can admit, when Republican politicians and media blowhards decry “illegals,” they are pretending to be for a race-blind enforcement of immigration laws, but they are really signaling their hatred of Latino culture.

How can we be so sure that dog-whistle bigotry is the intent? It’s simple, really. Just listen to who is — and who is not — being called an “illegal.”

Almost nobody uses the term to attack white immigrants from Europe or Canada who overstay their visas. Nobody uses the term to describe white people who break all sorts of criminal laws. Indeed, nobody called Louisiana Republican Sen. David Vitter an “illegal” upon revelations about his connection to a prostitution service, nor did anyone call Bernie Madoff an “illegal” for his Ponzi schemes.

Instead, the word is exclusively used to denigrate Latinos who entered the country without authorization. Coincidence? Hardly, especially because the term “illegal” is used to describe Latinos whose immigration status is not even a criminal matter.

What’s the catch-all term for people who operate motor vehicles while under the influence of alcohol? Where I come from we call them “drunk drivers”. We also call people who dispense illegal narcotics “drug dealers” and guys who break into other people’s houses and take stuff “burglars.” I have heard Vitter and Madoff referred to by derogatory terms like “pervert”, “crook” and “scumbag”.

There are several derogatory terms that refer to Latinos/Hispanics. There is also the old slang term “wetback” that was used to refer to Mexicans who entered the United States without permission. The origin of that term was based on the idea that they had just swum across the Rio Grande to enter Texas. But the term wasn’t accurate because both then and now many of these illegal immigrants crossed on dry land into Arizona or California.

“Illegal immigrant” is an accurate descriptive term. The people it refers to are immigrants who entered the United States illegally. The term illegal immigrant” is not exclusive to Latinos/Hispanics, but they do comprise a majority of the illegal immigrants in this country.

“Undocumented worker” is not an accurate descriptive term. It implies that their only offense was not filling out the proper paperwork. Illegal immigration is somewhat more serious violation than failing to sign the guest book at a party or reception. Some of these people are not here to work but are instead involved in the illegal drug trade.

There is nothing xenophobic about being concerned because millions of people from another nation with a different language and culture are invading our nation, taking jobs and residing in our communities. This is especially true when our economy can’t support all the people who are U.S. citizens.

We have borders. We have immigration laws. Because they enter illegally we don’t know anything about these illegal immigrants, such as whether or not they have criminal records. The fact is most illegal immigrants are not the best and brightest. They are often poor and illiterate. Many of them drive cars without licenses or insurance. When they get in trouble they run back to Mexico and then return here using different names.

I am not anti-immigrant. I spent part of my childhood living on a Del Monte farm labor camp. I actually witnessed a few immigration raids. There are communities here in the Central Valley where the illegal immigrants outnumber everyone else.

We need immigrant labor. But what we need is a regulated flow, not a flood. We need to get immigration under control.

One more thing – just because they come here to work does not mean they have to become citizens or even permanent residents. We should have a program that effectively enables them to cross the border when they are needed and go home when they are not. We need a modern version of the Bracero program.

About Myiq2xu - BA, JD, FJB

I was born and raised in a different country - America. I don't know what this place is.
This entry was posted in Illegal Immigration and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

73 Responses to “Illegal Alien” is an accurate descriptive term

  1. 49erDweet (D) says:

    The undocumented worker tag wss used when an employer had both braceros and illegals working at the same time. Was very uncommon to use the term until a couple of big firms with multiple locations were raided and uw’s were found and the press went wild. One of the situations was unintentional – through a contractor – but the other was plain and simple greed. Thus came the beginning of the end. What could possibly……….you know?

  2. Roberta says:

    MEMO To: David Sirota:
    Buffalo Chips

  3. lildoggy4u says:

    Lets just face it. We are all bigots in the world of the Obamamedia. I can accept that. When is Salon gonna be put out to pasture. I know I never read it.

  4. driguana says:

    Good, straight up blog and there probably would be a lot for everyone to learn from the Bracero program, especially regarding its simple approach to solving a problem. Government tends to make everything so complicated that it misses the actual problem solving point.

    Because my youngest son is married to a French woman, a large part of our current family are French nationals working here for many years…they are hard-working restaurant entrepreneurs. I am currently helping them study for their up-coming citizenship exams and have to admire their enthusiasm for learning about America and learning to speak English fluently. Most importantly, they have no problems with this.

    There is the saying that “we are all immigrants” in America and that is absolutely correct. Many of our families went through Ellis Island and embraced the opportunity to be here. My entire maternal family came from Oldenburg, Germany in the mid-1800s and settled in Cincinnati and helped found the small town of Oldenburg, Indiana where to this day many of the street signs are in German. They embraced America, its meaning and its ways but also maintained a healthy respect for their own cultural roots.

    As you point out, much or the current debate centers on Mexican/Latino/Hispanic labor and settlement issues but the overall problem and potential solution is much broader than that. Thus, the need for a much more straightforward solution.

    There is also that underlying, gurgling problem of “we’ll let you in but you must vote for us”…

  5. driguana says:

    To North Korea with love….

  6. elliesmom says:

    I think it’s fair to question the motives of the people who no longer want to label people who have no legal right to be here something other than “illegal”. It appears to me that the AP and other people who have their panties in a wad over the term “illegal” have an underlying goal of making the status of people here without proper permission more acceptable to the general public through a softening of the the language which describes them. We have seen a language change also change public perception before. When children born to unmarried women were called “bastards” or later “illegitimate”, we had fewer children born to single mothers. Today the most damaging term you hear is “love child” and famous people proudly describe unmarried parents as “baby mommas” and “baby daddies”. And I don’t think it’s a “chicken vs. egg” thing. I think the language change pre-dated the social acceptability change. Is the reformation of how we describe people who have entered or remained in our country without permission designed to acclimate the population to a larger amnesty program and relaxed immigration policies? I think so.

    • swanspirit says:

      Some of these people are flat out “open borders , the world would be a better place if we were all socialists and everyone was equal ” idiots . Bezerkely thinking flat out utopian idiots.

  7. yttik says:

    “We need immigrant labor. ..”

    Apparently, but why? We have an economy that doesn’t support all the people who are US citizens already. So what’s the problem? Have Americans lost their work ethic? Are these jobs so low paid and exploitive that Americans don’t want to do them?

    People who support illegal immigration don’t seem to ask these questions, but if they are true, aren’t we really creating a second class workforce, something similar to indentured slavery?

    • myiq2xu says:

      Apparently, but why?

      Americans are too good refined lazy to do manual labor.

      • swanspirit says:

        When a company in Atlanta stopped using immigrant workers , there were lines around the block of Americans ready to work , so that is not entirely true . I wish I had the link but it was some time ago . nevertheless , Many Americans would would gladly take those jobs.

        • myiq2xu says:

          The Welfare and unemployment offices should be combined. If somebody needs workers they should only have to make one call. If you are on the dole because you can’t find a job, then why shouldn’t the government be able to say “Here’s a job. Get to work or lose your benefits.”

        • 49erDweet (D) says:

          I’m sorry, but comments like your’s and myiq’s that follow are simply too logical for a blog. You do us no favors resolving important national issues like this so simply and easily. In the future please obfuscate better. Truth is scary.

  8. driguana says:

    astounding smoke and mirrors….beyond comprehension, at least mine anyway, at this point…

  9. myiq2xu says:

    Plan B is an after-sex contraceptive, not an abortifacient.

  10. Somebody says:

    I disagree with the softening of language on this issue. We are talking about people that entered our country illegally.

    I agree with you that using the term undocumented implies they forgot to fill out some form or the form was lost.

    I have no problem with legal immigration, in fact as many have stated we are a nation of immigrants. I expect that immigrants come here to work and contribute……I have no tolerance for those that come here to be criminals or go on the public dole.

    I know, I know……that makes me a racist…..yawn.

    Every nation has immigration policies and borders, but somehow the fact that the US does and that legal citizens of the US would like to see those laws enforced makes us bigots.

    • driguana says:

      And don’t forget the countries that were the great colonial powers, especially Great Britain, France, Belgium, Spain, Italy and Portugal…now reeling under immigration issues and afraid to say much about it….and, of course, those liberal bastions of Scandinavia…Denmark, Sweden and Norway, also confronted with major immigration issues. The Netherlands, in their infinite tolerance, seem to be faring a bit better but still having heated debates.

  11. myiq2xu says:

    DrewM at AofS:

    A federal judge has ordered the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to lift age and other restrictions on the sale of the morning-after pill, making the drug available to women of all ages over the counter.

    The ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Edward Korman reverses a 2011 decision by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius not to allow the sale of emergency contraception without a prescription for women 16 and under.

    Let me just stop here. You know what “women 16 and under” are? Girls. Young, inexperienced, non-consenting children. They can’t go on school field trips without permission slips or in many places take an aspirin at school without parental approval. They do not have the same rights or responsibilities as adults.

    Back to the judge…

    Korman blasted Sebelius’s order as “obviously political” and designed to avoid a fight with religious groups ahead of the 2012 presidential election.

    “Even with eyes shut to the motivation for the Secretary’s decision, the reasons she provided are so unpersuasive as to call into question her good faith,” Korman wrote.

    “She has failed to offer a coherent justification for denying the over-the-counter sale of levonorgestrel-based emergency contraceptives to the overwhelming majority of women of all ages who may have need for those drugs.”

    Girls that are 14 and 15 are having sex. Most of the time it is consensual. Plan B helps to keep one problem from becoming two problems.

    • elliesmom says:

      Fear of getting pregnant kept a lot of teenage girls virgins when I was a kid. Being an “unwed teenage mother” was brutal. Today being a teenage virgin can be socially ostracizing, too. From a 14 or 15 year old girl’s perspective, I don’t know which is worse. I do know the fewer babies born to babies, the better.

  12. HELENK says:

    Euphemism is a wonderful thing

    final solution ===== killing six million

    affordable care act ======making insurance unaffordable for many

    undocumented =========illegal

    liberal ========= in today’s world total control over everything

    • DandyTiger says:

      Even better, liberal = fascist. Who knew? They/we always worried that the right wanted to weaken government so much that the corp/gov. merge would be on corp terms and end as fascism. Now the libs want government to control everything, but in reality it’s via crony Chicago style corruption with the merging of gov and corp, resulting in fascism. Oops.

  13. swanspirit says:

    Stolen from FB “Obama’s Eviction notice ” page

    <blockquote" I put an Obama sticker on my broken vacuum cleaner. Now it sucks more than it did four years ago when I bought it new!

    • elliesmom says:

      Obama has made it “perfectly clear” he hates us boomers.

      • Somebody says:

        Technically Obama is a boomer himself. I know this because I was born the same year as Obama and I’m considered a boomer.

        Beyond that yes, he doesn’t like “old people”. Obviously he doesn’t think he is old or will ever be old…..or he just thinks he’s special.

        • HELENK says:

          look at his treatment of the grandmother who worked to give him a decent life. too busy to bury her in a timely manner.

          that should tell people all they need to know about backtrack. it says what kind of person he is.

        • elliesmom says:

          My youngest brother was born in 1960. He considers himself a boomer when it’s cool, and not when it’s ” an inconvenient truth”.

    • driguana says:

      Not surprising….especially white seniors….

    • foxyladi14 says:

      Grannies is that shovel ready job he promised. 🙄

  14. swanspirit says:

    My son is engaged to a wonderful girl from Scotland . They do not dare mess around with the immigration laws , It would ruin their future . This is a small piece of what they have to deal with:

    e fiancé(e) K-1 nonimmigrant visa is for the foreign-citizen fiancé(e) of a United States (U.S.) citizen. The K-1 visa permits the foreign-citizen fiancé(e) to travel to the United States and marry his or her U.S. citizen sponsor within 90 days of arrival. The foreign-citizen will then apply for adjustment of status to a permanent resident (LPR) with the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Because a fiancé(e) visa permits the holder to immigrate to the U.S. and marry a U.S. citizen shortly after arrival in the United States, the fiancé(e) must meet some of the requirements of an immigrant visa. Eligible children of K-1 visa applicants receive K-2 visas.

    The First Step: Filing the Petition

    You, the U.S. citizen sponsor, must file Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), with the USCIS office that serves the area where you live. See Direct Filing Addresses for Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) for information on where to file the petition. Further information is available on the USCIS website under Fiancé(e) Visas. Note: Form I-129F cannot be filed at a U.S. Embassy, Consulate, or USCIS office abroad.
    After USCIS approves the petition, it is sent to the National Visa Center (NVC) for processing, and NVC will send it to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where your fiancé(e) will apply for a K-1 nonimmigrant visa.

    The Second Step: Applying for a Visa

    Once the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you, the foreign-citizen fiancé(e), will apply receives the petition from NVC, it will provide you with specific instructions, including where to go for the required medical examination. During your interview, ink-free, digital fingerprint scans will be taken. Some visa applications require further administrative processing, which takes additional time after the visa applicant’s interview by a Consular Officer.

    Eligible children of K-1 visa applicants may apply for K-2 visas. Separate applications must be submitted for each K visa applicant, and each K visa applicant must pay the visa application fee.
    Required Documentation

    You, the foreign-citizen fiancé(e), (and eligible children applying for K-2 visas) will be required to bring the following forms and documents to the visa interview:

    Two (2) Nonimmigrant Visa Applications, Form DS-156 (prepared in duplicate). NOTE: K-1/K-2 visa applicants should not fill in Form DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application
    One (1) Nonimmigrant Fiancé(e) Visa Application, Form DS-156K
    One (1) Application For Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration, Form DS-230, Part I (You are not required to complete Part II.)

    K Visa applicants applying at U.S. Consulate General Montreal and U.S. Consulate General Ciudad Juarez have different application form requirements. Review information on the U.S. Consulate General Montreal or U.S. Consulate General Ciudad Juarez website to learn which forms you must complete.

    A passport valid for travel to the United States and with a validity date at least six months beyond your intended period of stay in the U.S. (unless country-specific agreements provide exemptions)
    Divorce or death certificate(s) of any previous spouse(s) for both you and the U.S. citizen sponsor
    Police certificates from your present country of residence and all countries where you have lived for 6 months or more since age 16 (Police certificates are also required for accompanying children age 16 or older)
    Medical examination (vaccinations are optional, see below)
    Evidence of financial support (Form I-134, Affidavit of Support, may be requested)
    Two (2) 2×2 photographs. See the required photo format explained in Photograph Requirements
    Evidence of relationship with your U.S. citizen fiancé(e)
    Payment of fees, as explained below

    Note: The Consular Officer may ask for additional information, such as photographs and other proof that the relationship with your U.S. citizen fiancé(e) is genuine.


    I personally believe that the Obama admin CALCULATES how many people ar actually dealing with legally immigrating to the US , against how many voters , legal and illegal , the democrats will gain , they would gain with amnesty or anything approaching amnesty , I think he wants to get it done by 2014 , or before his term is up

  15. HELENK says:


    oh oh this does not look good

    and you thought billy beer was a bad thing. Hillary’s brother and McAuliffe with foreign cash

  16. HELENK says:


    remember the democrats and the PUMAs, now it is the republicans and the conservatives

    • DandyTiger says:

      I’ve been thinking this was the path they’d go down. They’re desperate like the Dem party was in 06/07. They will try to do the same thing.

    • driguana says:

      Give me a third party or give me…….something….can’t stand either party any more….I’m heading back down the “not voting” path again…I’m 67 and both times I’ve voted for a president, one Democrat and one Republican, they both lost….think I’ve had it…definitely not voting for anyone from the political “families”….where is Cincinnatus when we need him? or even better, a Cincinnata, when we need her???

    • elliesmom says:

      If they don’t want us to separate the radical muslims from our nice, ordinary next door neighbor muslims, then we won’t. We can lump them all together if that’s what they prefer. No problem. But the next door neighbors might not appreciate what that means for them. Did anybody ask them? Or did only the “islamists” get a vote?

  17. HELENK says:


    this is an aspect of the unemployment problem , I never thought about. what happens when you can pay

    • Somebody says:

      Wow Florida comes up as a bad state to be in debt. I guess I should be counting my blessings that my husband or I didn’t end up in jail during my daughter’s cancer treatment. We went $89,000 in debt in a couple of weeks because the pathology at the PPC hospital we were at was not a PPC provider, no notice of that btw…..therefore he could charge us ridiculous amounts, literally 10 times what he accepted as payment in full from insurance companies he did have contracts with. I know this because luckily we were able to change to a plan he was on 3 months later……oh and over $100,000 later.

      Later during my daughter’s treatment the hospital accidentally forgot to apply my daughter’s insurance payments to her account, putting us over $100,000 in debt to them……that took 9 months, a professional patient advocate and an attorney to straighten out. Reading this I am doubly thankful we had plastic to pay those people to help us, otherwise we clearly would have ended up in debtor prison.

      I know there are lots of men that end up in jail here in FL for not being able to pay child support. Some of them are in fact dead beat dads, but not all of them. Some judges issue ridiculous child support amounts, in many cases more than the net earnings of the father. I know that sounds crazy, but I actually know a couple of people this happened to. In both cases the judge simply calculated using gross salary not taking taxes or health insurance into account. A friend of my husband’s was lucky the judge left him $400 a month to live……except you can’t live on $400 a month. He moved in with his parents.

    • HELENK says:

      should read
      when you can not pay

  18. catarina says:

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The closings of control towers at 149 small airports, due to begin this weekend because of government-wide spending cuts, are being delayed until June 15, federal regulators announced Friday.

    Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/FAA-delays-closing-of-airport-control-towers-4411608.php#ixzz2PcJ9hxaV

  19. driguana says:

    Got it….we will apologize to you if you think the same way we do ideologically….if not, you are a stupid, c-nt!

  20. HELENK says:


    another ex-weatherman is a professor at a NY college.
    I guess in today’s world that looks good on your resume

  21. HELENK says:


    disability trust fund runs deficits every years since backtrack elected.
    prior 15 years were in surplus

  22. HELENK says:


    border patrol ammo shortage. where are all the bullets that big sis stocked up ?

  23. HELENK says:


    undocumented farm workers hurdle on immigration reform bill

Comments are closed.