A group of students rallied last week in an attempt to convince their community to stop using “anti-immigrant language,” calling it “demeaning and criminalizing.” The students in question, the United 4 the Dream group, want more love and acceptance for a particular immigrant group….illegal aliens. If the youngsters have their way, the word illegal would be dropped in favor of “undocumented.” This as the state’s lawmakers consider measures which will make it more “uncomfortable” for illegal aliens to live in the state.
Aside from curiosity about the judgment of such liberally indoctrinated youth, a few questions come to mind. The first is rhetorical in nature; exactly what dream are they uniting for? I doubt it’s the same dream shared by patriotic, law abiding American citizens. The second is one which is not limited to young students but rather reflective of alien sympathizers of all ages; is your sentimentality preventing you from recognizing and considering the effects of legal and illegal immigration to this country?
Certainly, immigrantshave always endured shameful intolerance, with stereotypes and unflattering names applied to specific groups. All reasonable people agree the absence of name calling is a good thing. And, most would agree that all immigrant groups should be welcome here. But, words have meaning and using the wrong words, intentionally or not, makes an already challenging issue even more convoluted. The words in question are few and critical to understand.
First, consider the word immigrant. The IRS offers a clear description of immigrant, offering the following definition, “An alien who has been granted the right by the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Service) to reside in the United States and to work without restrictions in the United States.” So, immigrants are merely aliens who have been granted the privilege to be in this country by our government.
Now consider that “demeaning and criminalizing” descriptor, alien. The IRS has a crystal clear definition for this term too, offering, “An individual who is not a U.S. Citizen or U.S. national.” So, there are billions of people in the world who qualify as aliens to the United States. As we read in the previous paragraph, aliens who are granted the right to be here are given the honored title of immigrants. Those who have no right to be here are given the dishonorable title of illegal alien, defined as, “An alien who has entered the United States illegally and is deportable if apprehended, or an alien who entered the United States legally but has fallen out of status and is deportable.” One in the same with illegal aliens in the governments eyes is the term undocumented alien, but not immigrant (by definition).
Undocumented is the far preferred term of the students in Charlotte as well as every other bleeding heart alien apologist. Breaking the word down we interpret it to mean without (lacking) documentation. What documentation are these “undocumented aliens” lacking? For starters, they lack valid (read current) visas, passports, green cards or any other document which grants them the right and privilege to be here. And the importance of these documents, the naïve students might ask? Other than conferring legal status to the person holding them, none.
So, we’re back to that ugly word, legal (or illegal, as it were). Alien sympathizers suggest individuals lacking documentation are made to seem “less human” when the descriptive term illegal is added to their immigration status. Whether naivete or willful ignorance, such a posture ignores some basic truths, not the least of which is that our government created and applies these terms as a means to differentiate between Americans, to whom they have many responsibilities, and non Americans.
Part of the legal entry process to our country is the application for a visa and passport. According to the U.S. State Department, “A citizen of a foreign country who seeks to enter the United States generally must first obtain a U.S. Visa, which is placed in the traveler’s passport, a travel document issued by the traveler’s country of citizenship.” The visa doesn’t necessarily guarantee entry but indicates that a consular officer at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad has determined the person is eligible to seek entry.
This begs the question, what does a person do to qualify for visa eligibility? Eligibility for entry (visa) requires a passport, which requires verification of identity. This process uncovers criminal history and other qualifiers which might prevent the applicant from entering our country. The process also entails application for entry, specifying the desired amount of time the visitor would like to stay in America as well as the reason for visiting. Of course, many lie about the true reason for coming here, some intending to do harm (such as the 9-11 terrorists) with many thousands of other visitors intending to stay after their visa expires.
Visa violators, along with the border runners, actively compete against American citizens for jobs. Many apply for and receive government assistance. Many also bring their young children along for the ride, creating the DREAM set in the process. These children end up as young adults who compete for scholarships, in-state tuition rates and jobs with your children and mine. And, when sympathy is applied to them, it extends to their alien parents who deliberately violated our laws in coming here.
So, really kids, anti-immigrant speech? Hardly. We welcome all people, of all races, ethnicities and nations of origin who legally enter this country. They are immigrants, the very fabric of which our national tapestry is woven, an indispensable part of our past, present and future. All others are, let’s say it together now, illegal aliens. Undocumented, to be sure, but not immigrants at all. They are illegal, alien by deed and definition, respectively. We need to continue calling them what they are, and insist they leave.
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