Immigration Debate: The Problem with the Word Illegal

It's inflammatory, imprecise and, most of all, inaccurate. So why does everyone — from Chuck Schumer to Mitt Romney — use it?

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FREDERIC J. BROWN / AFP / Getty Images

People wait in line to enter the office of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles on the first day of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program on Aug. 15, 2012

What part of “illegal” don’t you understand?

Add that to the list of questions I am repeatedly asked since publicly disclosing my undocumented-immigrant status in the summer of 2011. Calling undocumented people “illegal immigrants” — or worse, “illegal aliens,” as Mitt Romney did in front of a largely Latino audience last week — has become such standard practice for politicians and the media, from Bill O’Reilly to the New York Times, that people of all political persuasions do not think twice about doing it too.

(MORE: For Romney, Fundraising Comes First)

But describing an immigrant as illegal is legally inaccurate. Being in the U.S. without proper documents is a civil offense, not a criminal one. (Underscoring this reality, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority opinion on SB 1070, Arizona’s controversial immigration law: “As a general rule, it is not a crime for a movable alien to remain in the United States.”) In a country that believes in due process of the law, calling an immigrant illegal is akin to calling a defendant awaiting trial a criminal. The term illegal is also imprecise. For many undocumented people — there are 11 million in the U.S. and most have immediate family members who are American citizens, either by birth or naturalization — their immigration status is fluid and, depending on individual circumstances, can be adjusted.

When journalists, who are supposed to seek neutrality and fairness, use the term, they are politicizing an already political issue. (How can using illegal immigrant be considered neutral, for example, when Republican strategist Frank Luntz encouraged using the term in a 2005 memo to tie undocumented people with criminality?) And the term dehumanizes and marginalizes the people it seeks to describe. Think of it this way: In what other contexts do we call someone illegal? If someone is driving a car at 14, we say “underage driver,” not “illegal driver.” If someone is driving under the influence, we call them a “drunk driver,” not an “illegal driver.” Put another way: How would you feel if you — or your family members or friends — were referred to as illegal?

(MORE: How Obama’s New Policy Affects Undocumented Youth — and Me)

Each newsroom abides by its own stylebook — how it defines and uses words and phrases. In the past few years, a small handful of news organizations have ceased using the term illegal immigrant in favor of undocumented immigrant. The Miami Herald, for example, began doing so as early as 2003 and instituted it paperwide a few years later. The Huffington Post — one the largest general news sources in the U.S. — followed suit in 2008. Two years later, the San Antonio Express-News amended its policy. That was around the same time a campaign called Drop the I-Word was launched, targeting leading news organizations like the Associated Press, whose influential stylebook still stands by illegal immigrant.

(MORE: Our National Immigration Policy: Still Clear as Mud)

In an increasingly diverse society in which undocumented immigrants are integrated in all walks of life, language belongs to the people whose stories are being told, whose distinct realities need to be accurately and fairly represented to the benefit of everyone. To be an undocumented person in the U.S., after all, is to live a life dictated by getting the proper documents. Immigration in the U.S. is more than a question of legality — it’s about history, about foreign policy, about economy in a globalized and interconnected world.

(MORE: TIME’s Cover Story “Not Legal, Not Leaving”)

I was born in the Philippines, a former American territory, and moved to the U.S. when I was 12. I found out that I was undocumented — that I didn’t have the proper documents — after trying to get a driver’s license at age 16. A year later, my high school sophomore-English teacher said I was asking too many questions and “should try this thing called journalism.” I was hooked, partly because seeing my byline, my name on a piece of paper, validated my existence in a way my fake green card and fake passport that my grandfather bought to smuggle me into America did not. When I got older, my grandfather’s lies became my lies. For more than a decade, I lied about my immigration status so I could get jobs, pay taxes and provide for myself and my family. But the lies stopped — they had to. Like countless other undocumented people, particularly young ones who’ve grown up in the U.S. and call this country our home, I outed myself to be seen as a human being who is more than my immigration status.

Don’t all human beings deserve to be reported on fairly and accurately?

(PHOTOSHarvesting Labor Rights: Chavez’s UFW At 50)

 

435 comments
JohnMaxwell2
JohnMaxwell2

Message: Reading john  article about a spell caster namely Odumodu was, i will say the best that ever happen to me this year based on the fact that i had a lot problem that i was trying to over come.I had problems at home which affected my work greatly. I was now always in a cross fire with my boss.I really don't want to tell story here so i guess i would just go strange to the point on what i have to say.My wife wanted out of our marriage for no just reason.We were married for four year and i think we were happy though we had no kids, it was her idea not to have any cos she wasn't ready to be a mom yet and i was okay with it i mean i didn't like the idea but i went along with it just to please her.It was always like that i mean she always get what she wants.All i wanted was to see her happy i could never do anything that will make her so unhappy.This was all i did wrong that is make her have it her way all the time. I mean that was the reason she gave during our therapy session.She wanted out of the marriage cos i was to nice. From what she said, i was the kind of man ever woman will die for but she wanted a real man to enforce his will no her meaning was i was to week a man for her.And that was the least of therapy session we had cos like she said we where wasting our life together and no amount of therapy was going to get us back together.I was a total mess thinking of how i was being dumped based on how much i loved my wife and how good i treated her,I really didn't know if she was ungrateful or just confused about what she wanted that is mid-life crisis but the bottom line is that she left me and who knows maybe for another man.I was still in love with her, she was the love of my life and i still wanted her to come back that was when i saw Eva-Yolanda article on Odumodu.When i contacted him he made me known that i will have to go through all the spell casting process.Like he said most people are too scared cos of trust issues.I had trust issues, but getting my wife back was my ulterior motive and from my experience with Odumodu i can tell you he is 100% truthful and honest with his customer.I was asked to get some material to prepare the spell and after which he sent me a package contain the spell and the rest just happen the way it was suppose to happen i got my wife back and she was my wife back again i mean she was not that woman who wanted a hard man she was woman i fell in love with who loved me cos i am me.If you want help or fell he can help contact him with his email address drodumoduspellcaster@gmail.com..... ONCE AGAIN HIS EMAIL ADDRESS IS: drodumoduspellcaster@gmail.com

MichaelRehan
MichaelRehan

who ever is reading this testimony today should please celebrate with me and my family because it all started like a joke to some people and others said it was impossible. my name is Michael i live in Chicago i am happily married with two kids and a lovely wife something terrible happen to my family along the line, i lost my job and my wife packed out of my house because i was unable to take  care of her and my kids at that particular time. i manage all through five years, no wife to support me to take care of the children and there come a faithful day that i will never forget in my life i met an old friend who i explain all my difficulties to, and he took me to a spell caster and and the name of the temple is called, DR Okundonor, i was assure that everything will be fine and my wife will come back to me after the wonderful work of Dr  Okundonorgreatspell, my wife came back to me and today i am one of the richest man in my country. i advice you if you have any problem email him with this email: dr.okundonorgreatspell@gmail.com and you will have the best result. take things for granted and it will be take from you. i wish you all the best.

Contact:( dr.okundonorgreatspell@gmail.com), or call he with this phone number, +2348137828640

shakesspear
shakesspear

Reading SLY SLIMMERS article about a spell caster namely Shakes Spear was, i will say the best that ever happen to me this year based on the fact that i had a lot problem that i was trying to over come.I had problems at home which affected my work greatly. I was now always in a cross fire with my boss.I really don't want to tell story here so i guess i would just go strange to the point on what i have to say.My wife wanted out of our marriage for no just reason.We were married for four year and i think we were happy though we had no kids, it was her idea not to have any cos she wasn't ready to be a mom yet and i was okay with it i mean i didn't like the idea but i went along with it just to please her.It was always like that i mean she always get what she wants.All i wanted was to see her happy i could never do anything that will make her so unhappy.This was all i did wrong that is make her have it her way all the time. I mean that was the reason she gave during our therapy session.She wanted out of the marriage cos i was to nice. From what she said, i was the kind of man ever woman will die for but she wanted a real man to enforce his will no her meaning was i was to week a man for her.And that was the least of therapy session we had cos like she said we where wasting our life together and no amount of therapy was going to get us back together.I was a total mess thinking of how i was being dumped based on how much i loved my wife and how good i treated her,I really didn't know if she was ungrateful or just confused about what she wanted that is mid-life crisis but the bottom line is that she left me and who knows maybe for another man.I was still in love with her, she was the love of my life and i still wanted her to come back that was when i saw Eva-Yolanda article on Shakes Spear.When i contacted him he made me known that i will have to go through all the spell casting process.Like he said most people are too scared cos of trust issues.I had trust issues, but getting my wife back was my ulterior motive and from my experience with Shakes Spear i can tell you he is 100% truthful and honest with his customer.I was asked to get some material to prepare the spell and after which he sent me a package contain the spell and the rest just happen the way it was suppose to happen i got my wife back and she was my wife back again i mean she was not that woman who wanted a hard man she was woman i fell in love with who loved me cos i am me.If you want help or fell he can help contact him with his email address shakesspear23@yahoo.com OR shakesspear23@gmail.com..... ONCE AGAIN HIS EMAIL ADDRESS IS: shakesspear23@yahoo.com OR shakesspear23@gmail.com

shakesspear
shakesspear

It sounds strange to me that i am living happy after all i have been through in life with 4 different false spell caster who ripped me off my hard earned money. Linda left me for a far more younger man and since then my world has been falling apart. I have been through the hands of 4 false spell casters but they all lied to me until i had a chat with Brian that introduced me to shakesspear23@yahoo.com OR shakesspear23@gmail.com . I never wanted to contact this man because i thought that he is like the others who will do the same thing and drive me insane. I gave him a trail after believing in Brian's words that he will tender his resignation if this one fails, to my greatest surprise, he did the spell for me and Linda came knocking on my door four days after i contacted Prophet of Goddess. I will forever be grateful to his good works because he restored my lost happiness and i am happy today because of his good work. Contact him in any problem on his email address:shakesspear23@yahoo.com OR shakesspear23@gmail.com, he is always there to assist you.

africabest.vodoospell2012
africabest.vodoospell2012


Be careful here nobody can help you here or even suggest how you can get your ex or love back,any testimonies of most spell caster here must be ignore.because most of them are scam i mean real scam which i was a victim and i got ripped of thousands of dollars because i was so anxious to get my wife back after she left me for over 2 years with my 7 years old son jerry,i have applied to 7 different spell caster here and all to no avail they all ask for same thing send your name your ex name address and picture phone number etc which i did over and over again and most of them were from west Africa until i saw a post about mama Anita spell and i decided to gave her my last trail.she ask me four things my real name,my ex and my ex mother name and $180 and said my ex will come back in 24hours, i have paid over $3000 on spell casting and courier and nothing have work for me after 3 days i was thinking about how much i have lost so far so i said let me give her a try so i called her again and send my real name,my ex and my ex mother name and the $180 because i swear it was my last try so i was waiting as she told me to wait till next day and i could not sleep that night because i really love my wife and want her back at 9pm that day i saw my wife on line on face book and she said hi at first i was shock because she never talk with me for the past a year and 9 month now i did not reply again she said are you there? i quickly reply yes and she said can we see tomorrow i said yes and she went off-line i was confused i try to chat her again but she was no more on line i could not sleep that night as i was wondering what she is going to say, by 7.am the next morning she gave me a miss call i decided not to call back as i was still on shock again she call and i pick she said can we see after work today i said yes so she end the call immediately i got off work she call me and we meet and now we are back again i call mama anita the next day thanking her for what she has done in fact i still call her and thank her as my life was not complete without my wife please be careful here i have been scam thousands of dollars if you want a true love spell then contact mama Anita (mama.anitatruelovespell@gmail.com) 

NancyKnudson
NancyKnudson

I find it maddening to hear supporters of illegal immigration try to cloud the issue and try to convince us all, that people who broke the law really didn’t really and that we are just imagining it.They broke our immigration law, period and it needs to be a felony to discourage the act. Another thing no one is talking about is how it puts illegals on the same level as those who are good hard working people who immigrated here by following the letter of the law and doing it legally.Not fair to them or anyone.The only ones being considered are the lawbreakers.I for one am sick and tired of it.

Hispanic
Hispanic

@joseiswriting let's not give words more power than they should have.  "Illegal" simply means "no allowed by the law". When a person migrates to a country without the proper documentation, it doesn't mean s/he is evil or criminal, s/he is just coming in without following proper migratory law procedures.  By definition, such person is in the country illegally!  I think the mistake is to treat the term as taboo or as something so objectionable that can't even be mentioned!  We should use the word, and use it often, to create awareness that this is an issue related with laws only (not with personal character), and to remove any negative connotation that may be associated with the term.  Think about it.  If you support undocumented immigrants, why refuse to even acknowledge their migratory status?  Isn't acknowledging a problem the first step to solve it?

Gangbuster12
Gangbuster12

Let's not forget that if they work, they are breaking tax law OR committing identity theft, both "illegal" actions. Saying they aren't is like saying it is ok to steal someone's car, so long as you don't use it for a drive-by. The hole idea of breaking multiple laws before you start counting is ridiculous and intellectually dishonest.

Gangbuster12
Gangbuster12

Source: dictionary.com

illegal alien/noun

1. a foreigner who has entered or resides in a country unlawfully or without the country's authorization.

2. a foreigner who enters the U.S. without an entry or immigrant visa, especially a person who crosses the border by avoiding inspection or who overstays the period of time allowed as a visitor, tourist, or businessperson.

That sounds about correct

DebEM
DebEM

semantics ... it's all semantics and a little bit about assimilation. I have left friends, right friends and mostly middle friends and most express concern for a lack of assimilation then a concern over documentation.


AnitaHop
AnitaHop

Thank you orkstarspell@gmail.com ! The love spell worked and he
returned to me. You are a marvelous, wonderful, stupendous, shocking
and extraordinary person with so much talent. You have a gift like no
other I have seen. You are an amazing person with a beautiful soul and
inner balance that shines on all you meet. You surpass any and all
other gifted individuals I have ever met. Your information is so
accurate it is incredibly unbelievable. Your wonder-working magical
know how of the universe and its laws are magnified within a structure
so unique it’s impossible to find anywhere. Again, thank you for
everything! visit him on: orkstarspell@gmail.com.   thank you papa.

spellcaster
spellcaster

I want to testify to the Goodness of DR.STANLEY for bring my lover back to me after 2days he casted the spell, my lover left me and my 2 kids for another woman but now all the thanks goes to Dr. Stanley for bringing him back to me if you are in any type of problem in your relationships or in your broken marriage contact Dr. Stanley on his email address for help on drstanleyspelltemple@hotmail.com.  Belinda.

UniqueColorofRed
UniqueColorofRed

It comes down to a right way of doing things and a wrong way. It is unfortunate that persons who want to immigrate feel that they can by pass the laws our country have in effect to have a person become a citizen. It is a crime for anyone to bring a person into our country as well as any other without going through a process of some kind. A person who feels they are above the laws of the country the want to live in is a criminal. Just that simple, writing  emotional icing  on the cake on it doesn't change the facts. Yes it is unfortunate that your grandfather smuggled you into a country, gave you illegal documentation so that you could have the benefits and life others have fought, earned and died for.  We realize it is hard for you to accept from your point of view, but wrong is wrong. If you want to be a citizen of the United States do as many of your countrymen have done and apply for citizenship. Again there is a right way of doing things. Citizens of The United States do not have to support, feed, assist, aid, clothe, educate, employ anyone who is not a Citizen of The United States. There is no law that can be made to do so nor should there be. My family had to immigrate from another country to America, my family had to go through the process of citizenship and they worked hard to do it and had pride that they were now Citizens of the United States. The United States Citizens at this time is struggling with the extra burden of supporting people that do not belong here they are called illegal aliens because that is what they are. They did not go through the process of become a citizen. With the threat of terrorism  illegal aliens are considered spies.  If a stranger walked into your home without your permission, ate your food and medicine , took your money, and your car said that now he had a right to it,what would you call him/her? That is what people from other countries are doing when they come to the United States intending to lead a false life with illegal documents that state you are a citizen.  I understand that you are a victim of what your grandfather did to you, but you are now an adult you can either cry and try to paint the sun black to anyone who will listen or you can apply for citizenship and make the right choice. 

countvonbrock
countvonbrock

When reading anything Mr. Vargas has to say one must remember that he is a repetitive lier, a "felon" (Merriiam-Webster "1. a person who has committed a felony." subject to prosecution for his many felonies.  By his demonstrated performance he will say and do anything to secure whatever it is that he wants the law be damned.  

thirty3na3rd
thirty3na3rd

So that means if I carry a gun on a plane it's a civil offense because I can move the gun back off the plane?

petertimber
petertimber

THERE WERE THOSE VERY NUMEROUS PEOPLE WHO HAD NO THOUGHT OF HOW TO MAKE THEMSELVES BETTER THAN THEY WERE BORN. THEY REMAINED WITH CHILDS MINDS AND NEVER BOTHERED TO BECOME EDUCATED ALL THEIR LIVES AND ALL OF A SUDDEN THEY HEAR ABOUT THE USA WHERE THEY CAN LIVE WITH LOTS OF WORK AND FREE ENTITLEMENTS TO LIVE WELL WITHOUT MUCH EFFORT. ALL THEY HAD TO DO WAS TO ENTER ILLEGALLY SINCE THEY WANTED TO COME RIGHT AWAY AND RECREATE SOUTH AMERICA.  VERY OFTEN I HEAR CHILDREN SPEAK ENGLISH WITHOUT A SPANISH ACCENT, SOME, NOT ALL, ARE AMERICAN ORIENTED AND DISAPPEAR INTO THE POPULATION AND DO WELL. THE OTHERS WANT TO RECREATE SOUTH AMERICA. MOST FOREIGNERS WHO CAME TO THE USA MADE THEIR CHILDREN SPEAK ONLY ENGLISH  AND ONLY SPOKE THEIR NATIVE LANGUAGE IN THE HOME WHERE THE CHILDREN HAD TO ANSWER PARENTS IN ENGLISH. SOUTH AMERICAN CULTURE IS SUPERIOR IN SOUTH AMERICA AND NORTH AMERICAN CULTURE IS SUPERIOR IN NORTH AMERICA.TO ATTEMPT TO RECREATE SOUTH AMERICA IN NORTH AMERICA WILL KEEP ILLEGAL ALIENS IN INFERIOR POSITIONS AND PARFTICULARLY THEIR CHILDREN  WHO DO NOT ASSIMILATE PPROPERLY. THE CUBAN PEOPLE WHO CAME TO THE USA FOLLOWED THE TRADITIONAL IMMIGRANT FOOTSTEPS AND ARE THE MODEL TO FOLLOW IF ILLEGAL ALIENS BECOME LEGALIZED. YOUR COMMENTS "SOMETIMES IT'S EVEN CHEAPER TO COME TO THE USA ILLEGALLY" IS EXPECTED FROM PEOPLE WHO DO NOT SPEAK OF BEING IN VIOLATION OF IMMIGRATION LAWS.  SUERTE!

m-mcmahon2@live.com
m-mcmahon2@live.com

I'm not sure how many of the people know undocumented immagrants who have for years having had the money and way to become legal but choose to under go it. Well I'm sure that I'm not the only amercian to think well if I have to pay taxes why don't they. they work illegally without the very same process that we have to go to starting at 16. which they take money from us to support medical programs that tend to the children that we had while their parents were in this country. so here it is that I'm paying to help support the basic needs of their child but what are they supporting? their are laws that abide us all. I don't feel that it is fair for them not to be held at the same standards as me.

petertimber
petertimber

WHEN AN ALIEN ENTERS THE USA WITHOUT BEING INSPECTED THAT ALIEN HAS NOT BEEN ADMITTED INTO THE USA EITHER TEMPORARILY OR PERMANENTLY IS CONSEQUENTLY IS AN " ILLEGAL ALIEN".. BEING SMUGGLED INTO  THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. AFTER  AN ALIEN ENTERS THE USA WITHOUT PROPER ENTRY DOCUMENTS AND IS BEING ACTIVELY SMUGGLED INTO THE USA THAT ALIEN IS A CO-CONSPIRATOR INVOLVED IN A CRIMINAL ACT PURSUANT TO THE  US  IMMIGRATION AND NATURALZIATION ACT.AN ALIEN WHO ENTERS THE USA AFTER ADMISSION FOR A TEMPORARY PERIOD AND OVERSTAYS BEYOND THE DATE OF THAT TEMPORARY STAY WILL FIND HIMSELF IN AN ILLEGAL STATUS; BEING IN THE USA WITHOUT AN EXTENDED PERMISSION OR OTHERWISE ADMITTED FOR ANOTHER PURPOSE WITH AN EXTENDED DATE IS ILLEGALLY IN THE USA

iN EACH CASE AN ALIEN WHO FINDS HIMSELF IN A SITUATION WHERE HE IS SUBJECT TO DEPORTATION OR VOLUNTARY DEPARTURE IS AN

"ILLEGAL ALIEN". THE TERM ILLEGAL ALIEN IS LEGAL AND NOT INTENDED TO BE PEJORATIVE.  a GJUILTY CONSCIENCE MAY BE EXPERIENCED BUT THEN AGAIN THIS IS THE PRICE FOR NOT COMPLYING WITH THE REGULATION IN ENTERING A COUNTRY AS WOULD BE ENTERING SOMEONES HOME WITHOUT PERMISSION.

WHEN I FOUND MYSELF IN SOUTH AMERICA AND SPAIN AND PLANNED ON ENTERING A PRIVATE HOME OR APARTMENT IT WAS ALWAYS PRFECEEDED BY A KNOCK ON THE DOOR AND THE EXPRESSION " CON PERMISO" (WITH PERMISSION TO ENTER)

Bev Hines
Bev Hines

THE WORLD CHANGED  IN SEPTEMBER OF 2002. AND IT WILL NEVER BE THE SAME. I LIVE IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, IN THE MIDST OF A VERY LARGE LATINO GROUP.  MY HEART GOES OUT TO THOSE WHO ARE HERE TO BE GOOD CITIZENS. THEY ARE TO BE COMMENDED. ALL CITIZENS FROM A FOREIGN COUNTRY NEED TO BE DOCUMENTED. PERIOD. DOCUMENTED IS NOT THE SAME AS CITIZENSHIP.  I DONT THINK WE HAVE COME UP WITH THE SOLUTIONS (PLURAL) YET. FOR THE SAFETY OF OUR COUNTRY, WE MUST REQUEST DOCUMENTATION AND  CONTINUE TO WORK ON AN ISSUE THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN DEALT WITH LONG AGO.  

Mac29
Mac29

Furthermore... It's all very nice that newspapers in Miami and San Antone, as well as Huffington have altered their terms. Big surprise there. But immigration IS about documentation: prove who you are and where you come from. Doesn't mean you should be stopped in the streets, frisked and asked for ID. Even I must carry ID in case I'm in the wrong place at the wrong time. Not legally, but without it I may be arrested until people know who I am.

But as Talendria here shows, your article proves how and why Americans are pissed off at "illegals". Good that you work and contribute to the system. Not saying there shouldn't be a way to smooth the way for you, since the problem's too big to solve by means of arrest, etc. But if you want rights and privileges of CITIZENs you can't get them by just walking here.

Being treated fairly and accurately means using precise words. Until the rest of us at large have a better term we can only use illegal alien. There are "undocumented immigrants", whose papers are not in order, others who purposefully overstayed their visa and then there are those who came here knowingly breaking the law and who knew they could be sent back. Took their chances. So be it. Don't cry now if the pols come up with a tax and a wait period to try again. Hate to break up families but who broke the law? Your actions reap what you sowed.

As you say history and our foreign policy are interesting; But have little bearing on your status, nor does the economy or the globalized and interconnected world. What matters is are you here legally? Immigration is about nationality and much as I loathe nationalism without some rules it just would be utter chaos. Anybody with a fake ID could get anything available. By the way I'd like to see a national law to really squash the fake ID printers. Like confiscate all their assets and throw away the key.

I admit the Hispanics or whatever other name the various flavors wish to call themselves have issues that urgently need addressing but calling for another amnesty like '86 or '87 is not going to solve the problems.

You're right, you are more than your status but while a number of conditions fall under the umbrella of 'illegal immigrant' many are exactly that. Our terminology may unfortunately depend on deciphering the percentages who truly are here illegally, and therein lies the problem.

SofyaKozlova
SofyaKozlova

There is no real difference, when a person lives in a country legally or not, if he/she does not disturb anybody and does not break laws. It is very difficult to be admitted to citizenship and become documented in the US. Many people simply cannot exist in their own country and earn enough money to keep their families, so they look for such opportunities in  the US. And why cannot do this (even during one year as e.g. "green card" holders), if they live and work quit , not causing inconvenience to others. I agree with many people here, that to be undocumented( to live "illegally") is not real crime and there is nothing terrible in it.

Talendria
Talendria

Three days to approve a comment, Time Magazine?  You can do better than that.

tabingbakod
tabingbakod

Being "illegal" does not mean anything anyway in the US. When hard working immigrants are illegal and fat cat bankers /capitalist run for president. The US where everybody uses drugs but minorities disproportionately the prison population.

The US who invaded Iraq and tortures people.

The US killed millions of Filipinos to make its territory just because of hubris. The whole country is illegal.

Sticky Geranium
Sticky Geranium

Not only do we not call drunk drivers "illegal drivers," we don't call attorneys who practice without a license "illegal lawyers;" we don't call restaurants that sell alcohol without a permit "illegal businesses,"  nor tax-evaders "illegal Americans" or "illegal businesses."

Above all, I've never heard anyone call the people who hire undocumented immigrants "illegal employers." 

Why not?  How is it justifiable to apply a clearly stigmatic label to immigrants and no one else?

John
John

Jose is clearly NOT a Twitter Early Adopter. @joseiswriting? After reading this brainless article how about: @joseiswhining? Or, perhaps: @joseisauselessdouchemonkey? :-)

iammoe
iammoe

Liberals need to leave America!

America is not for you.

iammoe
iammoe

If your illegal, you need to work on it! If you are legal and not American you need to get out of this country! Get the jest Libs?

iammoe
iammoe

Why do Liberals hate labels? Because more often

than not they are accurate!

iammoe
iammoe

 

Just because you are born in the U.S. doesn't

give you the right to Mooch! Deport your sorry A_zzes.     

iammoe
iammoe

If you won't produce, maybe you should be relocated to Canada or Mexico or the Middle East. Not counting Veterans!!!!

iammoe
iammoe

Maybe immigration isn't about borders but productivity?

iammoe
iammoe

I wonder if the illegal’s voted republican, if

the conservative party would have such an ob-version to them all crossing the border.

Calipenguin
Calipenguin

Jose Vargas says "For more than a decade, I lied about my immigration status so I could get jobs, pay taxes and provide for myself and my family."

Jose is admitting that as an adult he knew about his illegal status and lied anyways to get jobs.  Thus he can hardly blame his parents any more for making his decisions for him.  He could easily have returned to his home country as an adult, but chose to continue breaking U.S. laws anyways.  He thinks we'll sympathize with his need to lie because it allowed him to provide for his family, but he could easily have gone to another country to find a job and provide for his family, so he decided to continue to break our laws instead.  He is not a powerless pawn of racism.  He made multiple decisions as an adult which affected his status, and it's about time he took responsibility rather than burden us with his complaints.

iammoe
iammoe

It seems to be an adequate "Label" to me! 

Calipenguin
Calipenguin

The author asks "In what other contexts do we call someone illegal? "

Obviously he has never heard the term "illegal pornographer", "illegal prostitute", "illegal hacker", "illegal poacher", or "illegal abortionist."  Our English language is quite accurate and is not singling out illegal aliens.  People like Vargas are trying to re-invent the English language to "soften" the image of illegal aliens so that one day we can refer to them as "undocumented Americans."

Lance Johnson
Lance Johnson

A wonderful new book that helps explain the role, struggles, and contributions of immigrants is "What Foreigners Need To Know About America From A To Z: How to understand crazy American culture, people, government, business, language and more.” It paints a revealing picture of America for those foreigners who will benefit from a better understanding. Endorsed by ambassadors, educators, and editors, it also informs Americans who want to learn more about the U.S. and how we compare to other countries around the world on many issues.  As the book points out, immigrants are a major force in America. Immigrants and the children they bear account for 60 percent of our nation’s population growth. Legal immigrants number 850,000 each year; undocumented (illegal) immigrants are estimated to be half that number. They come to improve their lives and create a foundation of success for their children to build upon. Many bring their skills and a willingness to work hard to make their dreams a reality, something our founders did four hundred years ago. Numerous chapters discuss those who have become successful and the reasons why.  www.AmericaAtoZ.com

mmaace
mmaace

@UniqueColorofRed Your very lengthy point of view is quite misinformed. Americans do not support immigrants. Undocumented immigrants cannot receive government aide of any kind. Also the fact that you always capitalized "Citizen" was very interesting. Wonder what a therapist would say about that. 

countvonbrock
countvonbrock

@m-mcmahon2@live.com you should know that "undocumented immigrant" is both an oxymoron and a lie for nearly all illegal aliens. Most illegal aliens carry all kinds of phony documents!

countvonbrock
countvonbrock

@Bev Hines by what reasoning did you come up with ALL CITIZENS FROM A FOREIGN COUNTRY NEED TO BE DOCUMENTED. PERIOD."?  Is it possible that you are unaware that 55 million of your fellow adult citizens age 18 to 60 are unemployed, or that  20+ million of your fellow citizens who want a full-time job can't find one?  Further, are you unaware that 7+ million illegal aliens hold non-farm, payroll jobs, the exact same kind of jobs your unemployed fellow citizens are clamoring for?

I will assume that you are unaware of these facts and that your position on amnesty would be different if you knew.  For it is despicable for any American citizen regardless of ethnicity to advocate policies that they now will hurt their fellow citizens.  That they know will cause American families to send their children to bed hungry.  That they know will snatch the American dream away from their fellow citizens and give it to foreigners regardless of whether they are in the country legally or illegally.



petertimber
petertimber

@SofyaKozlova Irfegrfetfully is it your mkisfortune in b eing born nor legally admitted to tenter the USA for permanent reesidence..Just because you say "THERE IS NO REAL DIFFERENCE'...........................................TERRIBLE IN IT" IS ALL EMOTION.  WHAT YOU WANT IS NOT WHAT THE PEOPLE  OF THE USA WANT IN VIEW OF THEREGULATIONS IN THE US IMMIGRATION & NATURALIZATION ACT.

IF YOU WANTED TO ENTGER THE USA LEGALLY WHY DIDN'T YOU APPLY AT THE NEAREST AMERICAN EMBASSY OR CONSULATE FOR AN IMMIGRANT VISA AND "WAIT YOUR TURN" LIKE EVERYBODY DOES. YOU ARE NOT SPECIAL AND WILL ACHIEVE YOUR GOAL IN DUDE TIME.

samthor
samthor

@iammoe you can always go back to where YOU came from, Pilgrim. 

Betty Eyer
Betty Eyer

I'm a liberal, I was born here and I plan to stay here.  Deal. 

Byst1nder
Byst1nder

Smart people are scarce in the Republican party as per Santorum, are you sure you want Liberals to leave... It will lower the IQ ratio of America.....

Betty Eyer
Betty Eyer

Actually, being born here does make you a US citizen.   If Mitt can be a citizen being born here of Mexican born parents, then so can poor kids who fit that description. 

ligets
ligets

He lived in the US for his entire life! Oh, but that's so easy to move to another country to find a job. 

Alright.

Gangbuster12
Gangbuster12

It is repeatedly said that illegals cannot get entitlements yet somehow, they all do. I guess it's because many programs ban their employees from asking the citizenship question during the application process or beneficiaries are committing identity theft.

NancyKnudson
NancyKnudson

@countvonbrock  Good point.

How that is since I lost my job and was either underemployed or unemployed 5 years.Got a job a year ago that came with all sorts of promises which were never fulfilled like permanent status and benefits.We were promised none of us would lose our jobs but then we all did and were replaced by naturalized citizens and those in public assistance.Very disturbing.


leucinesky
leucinesky

@countvonbrockIf you are to dispute the opinion of someone with your so called “facts” then make sure they are correct. Yes, the unemployment rate is high in the US, and yes there are many who are suffering because of their inability to find jobs. But to say that the causation of this is due to the presence of a large group of undocumented people is not valid and only an opinion of your own. I would like to see you prove these “facts” you claim to be true. Learn to be scientifically literate by remembering that correlation does not equal causation. 

dianna207
dianna207

@petertimber Applying and "waiting your turn " like you say is no something affordable to many people. If this was so, trust me a lot of people would be her legally and with the proper documentation. It is not all a piece of cake as many think, and have the same of point of view. Sometimes it is even cheaper to come to the USA or any country "illegal" than applying and wating and remeber not everyone in the world has sufficient amount of money, especially not Latin America.

NancyKnudson
NancyKnudson

@countvonbrock 

Good point.

I know how that is since I lost my job and was either underemployed or unemployed at 60+ yrs old which lasted for 5 years.Got a job a year ago that came with all sorts of promises, which were never fulfilled like permanent status and benefits.We were promised none of us would lose our jobs but then we that was also a lie everyone was laid off with the exception of a handful and new people immediately hired.  What a coincidence they were either naturalized citizens and or on public assistance. Very disturbing