“So if the government designates a term [alien] for a group of people, I don’t see what makes it pejorative…”
Uh-huh, similarly, when the state labels people as ‘Gooks’ and ‘Niggers,’ there is absolutely no pejorative.
NumbersUSA also cringes at the phrase ‘illegal immigrant’ because they consider it an oxymoron. An ‘immigrant’ refers to ONLY a legal permanent resident, hence the term immigrant cannot be ‘illegal.’ That’s quite a leap from any English dictionary definition. I wonder what they call someone who came here legally, filed all the correct paperwork and then ‘aged out.’ Accidentally-illegal immigrant?
The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) broadly defines an immigrant as any alien in the United States, except one legally admitted under specific nonimmigrant categories (INA section 101(a)(15)). Legal or illegal entry/presence does not make one less of an ‘immigrant’ under the law.
As for using the word ‘alien’:
“Alien” is a legal term defined in the Immigration and Nationality Act and used in immigration court and Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) decisions day in and day out. “Illegal alien” and “illegal immigrant” are not.
Needless to say, this roundtable conversation was disgusting and devoid of intellect and the ethnic media groups were equally as clueless.
Differentiating that someone is against ‘illegal immigration’ and not legal immigration belies and ignores a broken system of immigration that:
1. Disallows people from immigrating legally even when they want to
2. Renders and labels human beings as ‘illegal’
You still insist that you want unauthorized migrants to do things legally? Recognize that the system makes that impossible in many cases, and that it takes a certain amount of economic privilege to get all the immigration paperwork right. And even then, U.S. citizen children are fighting to keep their parents here and U.S. citizen parents are being separated from their ‘aged-out’ children. Realize that harsh economic realities such as NAFTA have pitted business above labor and devastated conditions in Mexico to the point that migration is the only resort.
If right-wing anti-immigrant groups were really against only ‘illegal immigration,’ they would be doing everything in their power to fix the broken legal immigration system so people would not be forced to either immigrate illegally or worse, ‘fall out of line.’
And referencing this great post by Dave again – ‘Illegal alien’ and ‘illegal immigrant’ are the real euphemisms.