“Calling an illegal alien an ‘undocumented immigrant’ is like calling a burglar an uninvited house guest.”
Burglars are not uninvited house guests.
Car-jackers are not under-rated drivers.
Bank robbers are not making unauthorized withdrawals.
Illegal aliens are not undocumented immigrants.
The correct terminology for the nearly 20 million persons illegally in the U.S. is illegal aliens. The term undocumented immigrants is purposely incorrect in order to sway the public in favor of special interest groups and only clouds the reality of the situation. Most undocumented border crossers never had a document to lose. The incorrect and understated implication is that legal status can be achieved merely by completing some paperwork. By law the illegal alien must leave the country in order to apply through the proper immigration procedure.
The politically correct term undocumented immigrant started with former INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) Commissioner Leonel J. Castillo during the Carter Administration (1977-81). The word undocumented wormed its way from the widely discredited and now defunct INS to politically-correct media, cheap labor corporations, ethnic vote pandering politicians, and pro-illegal alien ‘rights’ organizations, many of which are race biased. Even the highest officials including President Bush and former House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt pander to the extent they even call illegal aliens citizens.
An alien is a person who comes from a foreign country. The term illegal alien is broader and more accurate because it includes undocumented aliens and nonimmigrant visa overstayers. An undocumented alien is an individual who has entered the U.S. illegally, without entry documentation. Any alien who violates the terms of his or her admission may be deemed to be out of status. Becoming out of status occurs when a nonimmigrant remains in the United States beyond the expiration date of their visa or when a nonimmigrant engages in employment in the United States for which she is not authorized. Roughly 60% of the illegal alien population are undocumented aliens and about 40% are nonimmigrant visa overstayers. Thus, the term illegal alien, being broader in scope, is the accurate term to use.
In that immigrant connotes legality, the term illegal immigrant is really an oxymoron. Even though common usage of immigrant has been broadly applied to those illegally in the U. S., such usage is incorrect for the following reasons:
Dictionaries define immigrant as “a person who comes to a country to take up PERMANENT residence.” Thus, the term immigrant does not always apply to transient illegal aliens who frequently cross the porous U.S. border. Further, without amnesty or other change of status, illegal aliens are subject to deportation and have no legal assurance of permanent residency.
Many visas are classified as nonimmigrant visas including the J-1 visa for exchange students. Many foreign students overstay their nonimmigrant visa and then are inaccurately called an illegal immigrant. How does expiration of a nonimmigrant visa make that person an illegal immigrant? A person who overstays a nonimmigrant visa should be properly described as an illegal alien.
The U.S. Census Bureau categorizes foreign-born as follows:
“naturalized U.S. citizens,
legal permanent residents (immigrants),
temporary migrants (such as students),
humanitarian migrants (such as refugees),
and persons illegally present in the United States.”
Although the Census Bureau does not have the courage to use the category illegal aliens the important point is that “persons illegally present in the United States” are NOT categorized as immigrants. Immigrants, by definition, are legal and illegal aliens, by definition, are illegal.
A poll taken in early 2004 by Andres McKenna Polling and Research found that 73 percent saw noncitizens as “illegal aliens,” while 25 percent saw them as “undocumented workers.” Yet how often do you read newspapers or hear politicians use the term “illegal aliens”? See Disconnect.
Please help promote honest immigration debate by educating politicians, reporters and others who use euphemisms such as undocumented worker, undocumented person, undocumented alien, undocumented citizen, or undocumented immigrant. Challenge politicians or send a Letter to the Editor whenever undocumented is used.