Sunday, November 11, 2012
Politically correct bullies don't like ‘illegal immigrant'
There is a campaign under way to shame media companies into abandoning the term “illegal immigrant” and replacing it with kinder and gentler euphemisms such as “undocumented worker.”
The National Association of Hispanic Journalists — which I've been a member of for two decades and which has rarely stuck its neck out to defend Hispanic journalists, let alone immigrants — has even gone so far as to suggest that the phrase causes hate crimes.
The crusade against the “I-word” began in September when, at an online journalism conference, freelance journalist and activist Jose Antonio Vargas put media companies on notice. He said they would be monitored and when they used “illegal immigrant” — which he claims “dehumanizes” people — the infraction would be duly recorded.
The wording is accurate. When you enter the United States without permission or overstay a visa, you break a law. Vargas notes that “being in a country without proper documents is a civil offense, not a criminal one.” True. But the word “illegal” simply means against the law.
The charge that the term “dehumanizes” people is ridiculous. It describes an action as much as it does a person. An illegal immigrant is someone who immigrates illegally.