Recently there was a big outcry over the U.S. Department of Justice calling illegal aliens “illegal aliens.” This followed years of the Obama administration refusing to call them what they are.
For anyone with a dictionary, it’s not clear why calling them “illegal aliens” is a problem, since the term is correct by definition. Merriam-Webster defines “illegal” as “not according to or authorized by law.” Merriam-Webster defines “alien” as “relating, belonging, or owing allegiance to another country or government.” So they are illegal aliens.
Let’s break this down. Whether illegal aliens enter the country illegally, or whether they enter legally and then unlawfully violate the terms of their visa, they are present illegally. There is no way around that fact. “Illegal” refers to an activity “not authorized by law.” They are illegally present. They are “aliens” in that they do not belong to the United States. If they did, they wouldn’t be entering illegally. They’d have a passport, or the ability to get one, and come in the front door instead of sneaking through a hole in the shrubbery.
Perhaps liberals think that “illegal” and “criminal” are the same thing. To help them out, I note that Merriam-Webster defines “criminal” as “relating to, involving, or being a crime.” Thus, “illegal” and “criminal” are not necessarily the same thing, although they can be. You would think that a group that continually bleats about the idea that not all illegal aliens are lawbreakers (they are) would understand this. Perhaps not.
Even the IRS understands. The IRS defines an “illegal alien” as someone “who has entered the United States illegally and is deportable if apprehended, or an alien who entered the United States legally but who has fallen ‘out of status’ and is deportable.” This definition encompasses both aspects of unlawfulness – the illegal entry and the illegal overstay. In fact, the illegal entry itself is criminal behavior. The illegal overstay is unlawful but not necessarily criminal. Both are illegal. If they were present legally, there would be nothing to discuss, correct? We would not have these ridiculous attempts to call them something other than what they are.
In any event, it is not debatable that there are criminals in the illegal alien community, separate and apart from their illegal status. For those that commit a second (or more) crimes after their initial criminal entry, they are doubly criminals.
Liberals are even trying to erase the word “illegal” from the discussion entirely. Supposedly their concern is that “[t]he i-word is legally inaccurate, politically loaded, dehumanizing to the people it describes and likely unintentionally fuels racial profiling and violence directed toward immigrants.” (Yes, they really did say "the i-word.") Every part of this statement is either rank speculation or plainly inaccurate, or both. The fact that it is so transparently wrong highlights its propagandist nature. And its attempt to make the word “illegal” unacceptable to use when we talk about illegal aliens is laughable.
Word matter, and the liberal intent on this is clear. They believe that if they can control the language, they can control the conversation and thus the agenda. Then, in turn, they can limit the options so that whatever outcome is chosen, it is one they find acceptable.
This is why we must use our words, and why we must clearly name what we are discussing. If we do not, we will not be able to have a civil discussion about our common problems, and we will be unable to solve them. Our families, loved ones, and communities will suffer as a result.