Monday, July 09, 2012



 'illegal immigrant' is a slur?

A bit of fast and loose reasoning below

Last month's Supreme Court decision in the landmark Arizona immigration case was groundbreaking for what it omitted: the words "illegal immigrants" and "illegal aliens," except when quoting other sources. The court's nonjudgmental language established a humanistic approach to our current restructuring of immigration policy.

When you label someone an "illegal alien" or "illegal immigrant" or just plain "illegal," you are effectively saying the individual, as opposed to the actions the person has taken, is unlawful. The terms imply the very existence of an unauthorized migrant in America is criminal.

In this country, there is still a presumption of innocence that requires a jury to convict someone of a crime. If you don't pay your taxes, are you an illegal? What if you get a speeding ticket? A murder conviction? No. You're still not an illegal. Even alleged terrorists and child molesters aren't labeled illegals.

More here

So nobody can be called an illegal immigrant until a court declares them so?  What were they before the court declared them illegal then?  Legal?

His reasoning is actually an example of the old logical  fallacy of composition, which  arises when one infers that something is true of the whole from the fact that it is true of some part of the whole.  So it may be true that a particular person should not be called illegal until a court has judged him but that does not imply that there is not a group of similar people which is illegally present -- and who can thus be referred to as a whole as "illegals".

And even if we want to refer to a particular person as an illegal, we can reasonably follow newspaper practice and refer to him as an ALLEGED illegal immigrant.

But the argument is rarely about individuals.  It is about a very large group of people who are in America without permission.   Denying that such a group exists would be absurd and being in America without permission is illegal  -- hence the term illegal as a shorthand reference to that class of persons is perfectly reasonable.

Rather fun pulling that apart.

Ruben Navarrette Jr. doesn't think "illegal immigrant" is a slur either.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

What is most illegal is the court system. That corrupt and highly biased system proves, everyday, that justicce truly does stop at the courthouse doors.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:48, i do not appreciate your anti-American sentiments. If you do not like it here in the USA, get the hell out.

Anonymous said...

How about fucking spic go back to the cesspool you came from.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:37 is a perfect example of the Christian right.

Bird of Paradise said...

I can remember when they were called WETBACKS becuase they swam the Rio Grand River

Anonymous said...

8:19 I'm a "christian right" and have never heard anyone mutter such nonsense, I have heard lefties utter much more hate than the right. fact.

Anonymous said...

I just love all the bigots here! So entertaining!

Anonymous said...

12:05, entertained by them? wow.

Use the Name, Luke said...

I suspect garbage like 5:37 is a leftist pretending to be a conservative. It's not actually how those of us who are actually conservative think, but it matches the stereotype of how the left apparently thinks we think.

Anonymous said...

"I suspect garbage like 5:37 is a leftist pretending to be a conservative."

LOL. You are quite the delusional one.

Go Away Bird said...

Annon 12:05 a typical liberal open the mouth and insert the foot

Anonymous said...

2.33, we see the fake hate crimes all the time, it probably is a liberal.

Anonymous said...

"we see the fake hate crimes all the time"

What is to ratio of fake vs real? And who does the real hate crimes?

It is common knowledge that the real hate crimes are perpetrated by right wing bigots and homophobes.

Use the Name, Luke said...

5:51,

Only in your little fantasy world.

Anonymous said...

Luke is still delusional.

Use the Name, Luke said...

Really? Compare:

ows clash with police

tea party clash with police

It's pretty obvious which one of us is "delusional".

Anonymous said...

how many illegals are posting here?

Anonymous said...

Only delusional people quickly change the subject.