Commentary: the ‘Illegal’ slur

By Michael Vass | April 28, 2012

While watching the news tonight I ran across an amazing story. Reports on a movement that is seeking to end discrimination and dehuminization. You might think this is about slurs against gays, or calling African Americans the n-word, or insults against women – but you would be wrong. No, the protest du juor is against the use of the word illegal, when used in conjunction with alien.

Illegal alien is a term that is defined as “a person who has entered the country without official authorization”. Obviously you can see how such a definition dehumanizes those it is applied to. How it denigrates nationalities and impedes their ability to live.

At least that is what MoveOn.org and others on the far-left would like Americans to believe. To quote their Youtube effort to create a arguement where none existed before,

“…it’s racially charged, legally inaccurate, and morally wrong…”

Where exactly is the racial aspect of the word illegal alien? A person, as it is defined, could be from anywhere in the world – of any sex, age, gender, religion, and nationality. You can be an illegal alien in China if you enter the nation without documentation and permission and you are from France. You can be a Belgian woman trying to enter Canada and be an illegal alien. You bould be a Buddhist monk trying to enter South Africa and be an illegal alien. So in using the legal term in America, how does it suddenly become racial?

Perhaps the focus should be on the moral aspect. The problem is I cannot envision a single example of how a legal term that is used internationally, and is entrenched in sovereign law in every nation on the planet, is immoral. How does a legal term describing an action that violates law itself become the expressing or teaching a conception of wrong behavior?

Thus we are left with the charge by MoveOn.org that the legal term illegal alien is inaccurate. An alien, in legal terms defining a native of a nationality, is someone from outside the borders, jurusdiction, and sovereignty of a nation. When I lived in Moscow, Russia I was an ex-pat or alien, because I was an American living in a foreign land. Anyone in a nation other than their own is an outsider, visitor, or alien to the nation they are residing in.

Illegal should be self explanitory. Not legal. simple and straight forward, no need or capability to misinterpert the word. Anyone with a 6th grade reading level can understand the word.

Combining the 2 words and legal terms equates to the definition above. American federal law makes it a crime to enter the nation without documentation and the expressed permission of the United States as per Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution. Further the issue of citizenship and the existence of illegal aliens goes back to 1790, greatly amended by the Hart-Celler Act, and futher amended by the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, among other laws inbetween.

There is no question that entering a nation, in this case America but you can substitute any nation, without legal right is a crime and therfore illegal – those doing so being aliens to that nation and thus illegal aliens.

The argument for MoveOn.org and the far-left seems to fall apart, once you stop feeding emotions and think about what is being said. But let me take a differnt tack.

Is it disparaging to call a bank robber a bank robber? Or a child molestor exactly that (or pedophile if you prefer)? Is that not an exact description of their crimes. Should we instead call a bank robber a financially challenged individual who seeks criminal means to gain monetary infusions? Seriously.

Since it is obvious that to call a person that has actively committed a crime a criminal, would MoveOn and the far-left prefer that illegal aliens be called criminal aliens? Or just criminals. Or is that too racially and morally unjust (albeit accurate).

Better yet, let’s look at why, suddenly, there is this fabricated push to make the term illegal alien taboo. Why now and why taboo?

After decades of arguments and attempts to pass laws absolving illegal aliens of their crime – entering the U.S. without permission or Right – now the term illegal alien is being labeled as racial and immoral. That’s after the fact that the term “undocumented worker” has failed to take hold as it is a reminder that the reason they are criminals is because they actively failed to get documentation to legally be in the country. So an new package had to be created to get the right emotional strings pulled.

At the same time, this is an election year. The incumbent President is widely seen as being in danger of losing his bid at re-election. The focal point of his election in 2008 was the economy and jobs – which he has failed to improve according to the standards and criteria the President himself establish as watermarks he must attain.
A secondary point was improvement on the national debt – which has failed so badly as to cause the nation to have its credit rating downgraded for the first time in the national history. The President needs distraction from his record to be able to maintain a successful bid at re-election.

Given these facts, the far-left has taken the opportunity to gin up an issue that does not exist in the manner they are now promoting to help politically a President that desperately needs help. Its an act that defines the President as weak and a failure in my opinion.

Perhaps MoveOn.org and the far-left think America is too stupid to understand what they are doing. Perhaps they believe that if they shout long and loud enough they will create a feeling of guilt and shame people into acting the way they want. Perhaps they believe by making the issue emotional they will fare better than their actions to logically win the argument have. I doubt any of these things will happen.

I equally doubt that anyone will be distracted from the key points of the 2012 Presidential election – the record of President Obama and the potential of Mitt Romney. Most of all I do not believe that even the most ardent pro-open borders advocate will accept the farcical, and by definition false, claim being made.

Illegal aliens are undocumented workers – which makes them criminals, and a problem in the nation. The resolution of the problem will never be found in name calling, nor ficticous labels. MoveOn.org and the far-left are doing nothing to help their position, in fact they are likely hurting it by distracting from any real argument they can make.

But I welcome any real, factual, definitive argument that MoveOn.org and its ilk can make to substantiate the claim they are making. Just don’t hold your breath as you wait for them to do so.

By Michael Vass

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