Newly-appointed Supreme Court Justice, Sonia Sotomayor, is already starting to make a difference in the courtroom. While handing down a decision in a civil litigation case, MOHAWK INDUSTRIES, INC. v. CARPENTER, Judge Sotomayor wrote her traditional debut presiding opinion that marks the first time the United States Supreme Court has used the lexicon “undocumented immigrants” to classify immigrants without legal status.
Discourse does matter given that classifying people as “illegal aliens” or “illegal immigrants” without granting them a chance to explore the legal options available to them is a slur. It is similar to calling someone a robber or murderer without first granting that person due process of law. Since the Supreme Court has used the term “illegal immigrant” in a number of cases and it is yet another euphemism with little legal basis, we commend Judge Sotomayor for this positive step in the right direction towards re-framing the immigration discourse.
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