View Poll Results: What is the best term to describe a person who unlawfully enters the US?

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  • illegal alien

    37 45.12%
  • illegal immigrant

    21 25.61%
  • undocumented immigrant

    6 7.32%
  • unauthorized immigrant

    4 4.88%
  • illegal invader

    8 9.76%
  • other (please state)

    6 7.32%
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Thread: What is the best term to describe a person who unlawfully enters the US?

  1. #31
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    Re: What is the best term to describe a person who unlawfully enters the US?

    Quote Originally Posted by digsbe View Post
    They are illegal aliens. They are criminals that need to go through the judicial system.



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  2. #32
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    Re: What is the best term to describe a person who unlawfully enters the US?

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Incognito View Post
    It doesn't matter if they have "definitely done it" or not. Even if they really are undocumented immigrants, they are presumed innocent until adjudicated guilty. What they did in reality is irrelevant, the presumption of innocence remains until the adjudication of guilt.

    I guess it's reasonable to call undocumented immigrants "suspected illegal immigrants," but that's a stretch. There are millions of undocumented immigrants, and most are not going to ever be adjudicated guilty of illegal immigration. That's just a fact of life.

    So you have two reasons, really, why undocumented is a better term. First it is a literally the most correct, and least circuitous, appellation. Second, calling somebody an "illegal immigrant" or worse an "illegal," especially if they have not been found guilty of unlawful immigration, is a bigoted slur.

    So the term "undocumented immigrant" is both accurate and polite. Whereas the term "illegal immigrant" is both inaccurate and racist. This is a no brainer.
    I respect your point of view, but, honestly, it's just not adding up. If I come home to find my house ransacked, I don't say, "An alleged burglar has been here." I just call'em a burglar. Since I don't know specifically who did it, and I definitely know a crime has been committed, I don't think I have any obligation to apply court standards to my language. If someone gets arrested for the crime and put on trial, then I'll call him or her the alleged burglar. We know for certain many people sneak into the country illegally. When speaking about them generally, it seems reasonable to call them illegal aliens. If a specific person were arrested for it and put on trial, then I would definitely qualify with "alleged" or "suspected." The person does of course have right to be presumed innocent unless proven otherwise. However, "undocumented immigrant" just smacks of intellectual dishonesty. It's inaccurate. For one thing, many of them have documentation. Many obtain fraudulent documents before coming here. Many have legitimate documentation such as a valid drivers license from another country. Neither of this documentation gives someone the right to violate American law (and the former is itself a violation of the law).

    The word "illegal" isn't racist either because it can refer to anyone of any race. Anyone who sneaks into the country illegally is an illegal just like anyone who burglarizes a home is a burglar. There's no race involved at all in any of this language. If someone calls a person and "illegal spic," then that's racist, but the word "illegal is not the one that made it that way.

    I do think "unauthorized" is a better term than "undocumented." A person who sneaks in illegally may or may not have documents, but he's definitely unauthorized. When I read articles on this subject and the author has used the "undocumented" term, I immediately lose respect for their credibility. I don't react the same way when they say "illegal" or "unauthorized." To me to call an illegal "undocumented" is like calling a burglar an "unexpected borrower of possessions." Call'em what they really are without trying to sugar-coat their crime.

  3. #33
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    Re: What is the best term to describe a person who unlawfully enters the US?

    Using the word "illegal" as a noun carries all sorts of connotations that I would rather not think about. The idea that a very person--not their actions, but their being--is illegal, is far scarier than illegal immigration could ever hope to be.

    There really isn't any shortcut, IMO, to "illegal immigrant."
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  4. #34
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    Re: What is the best term to describe a person who unlawfully enters the US?

    Quote Originally Posted by Phys251 View Post
    Using the word "illegal" as a noun carries all sorts of connotations that I would rather not think about. The idea that a very person--not their actions, but their being--is illegal, is far scarier than illegal immigration could ever hope to be.

    There really isn't any shortcut, IMO, to "illegal immigrant."
    What?

    Why the hell would "illegal immigrant" mean the "very person" was illegal? The use of the term immigrant in that phrase means that it's an illegal immigrant, as opposed to a legal one. Denoting the general illegality of their immigration into the country.

    I suppose Illegal Alien might be better, because it gives the impression that they aren't here to stay, as opposed to the "Illegal Immigrant" term.

    But the "Illegal" part most definitely denotes their action, not the person itself...wtf?
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  5. #35
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    Re: What is the best term to describe a person who unlawfully enters the US?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Tammerlain View Post
    If they are in the US illegally without the the intention of staying long term, illegal alien would be the term. If they intend to stay then illegal immigrant
    Yes, I would agree. An illegal alien is violating our territorial sovereignty. An illegal immigrant is merely violating our established procedures for handling immigrants.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Tammerlain View Post
    It doesnbt matter if they are from Mexico, Canada or China
    Mexico or China, I would agree with. As far as I am concerned, the Canadian and American governments are a political division of the same nation.

  6. #36
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    Re: What is the best term to describe a person who unlawfully enters the US?

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Incognito View Post
    It doesn't matter if they have "definitely done it" or not. Even if they really are undocumented immigrants, they are presumed innocent until adjudicated guilty. What they did in reality is irrelevant, the presumption of innocence remains until the adjudication of guilt.

    I guess it's reasonable to call undocumented immigrants "suspected illegal immigrants," but that's a stretch. There are millions of undocumented immigrants, and most are not going to ever be adjudicated guilty of illegal immigration. That's just a fact of life.

    So you have two reasons, really, why undocumented is a better term. First it is a literally the most correct, and least circuitous, appellation. Second, calling somebody an "illegal immigrant" or worse an "illegal," especially if they have not been found guilty of unlawful immigration, is a bigoted slur.

    So the term "undocumented immigrant" is both accurate and polite. Whereas the term "illegal immigrant" is both inaccurate and racist. This is a no brainer.
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  7. #37
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    Re: What is the best term to describe a person who unlawfully enters the US?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Mark View Post
    What?

    Why the hell would "illegal immigrant" mean the "very person" was illegal? The use of the term immigrant in that phrase means that it's an illegal immigrant, as opposed to a legal one. Denoting the general illegality of their immigration into the country.

    I suppose Illegal Alien might be better, because it gives the impression that they aren't here to stay, as opposed to the "Illegal Immigrant" term.

    But the "Illegal" part most definitely denotes their action, not the person itself...wtf?
    I'd have to agree. "Illegal" refers to the action they've taken. A person who illegally comes into the country is an illegal. A person who burglarizes is a burglar. Neither description is the essence of who the person is. I would hope a burglar might quit committing that crime and find some honest way to make a living. I would also hope that illegal aliens might one day learn to respect American sovereignty. I'd doubt they will, but one can hope.

  8. #38
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    Re: What is the best term to describe a person who unlawfully enters the US?

    Quote Originally Posted by Luna Tick View Post
    I'd have to agree. "Illegal" refers to the action they've taken. A person who illegally comes into the country is an illegal. A person who burglarizes is a burglar. Neither description is the essence of who the person is. I would hope a burglar might quit committing that crime and find some honest way to make a living. I would also hope that illegal aliens might one day learn to respect American sovereignty. I'd doubt they will, but one can hope.
    Actually, I think that I might have misunderstood him.

    I think he meant that, when someone says something like "those damned illegals"...or something...he takes issue.

    Not positive.
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  9. #39
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    Re: What is the best term to describe a person who unlawfully enters the US?

    Quote Originally Posted by OscarB63 View Post
    guys like gay incontinent see racism everywhere. it doesn't have to exist for them to see it. they KNOW it is there.
    I guess it's just a matter of definition.

    Some examples of different races:
    • White (Caucasian)
    • Black (Negroid)
    • Asian
    • American Indian
    • Hispanic
    • Someone who is illegally in any place that he doesn't belong


    So, by this definition, if you have anything against someone being in a place that he has no right to be, then that makes you a racist.
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  10. #40
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    Re: What is the best term to describe a person who unlawfully enters the US?

    Quote Originally Posted by Phys251 View Post
    Using the word "illegal" as a noun carries all sorts of connotations that I would rather not think about. The idea that a very person--not their actions, but their being--is illegal, is far scarier than illegal immigration could ever hope to be.
    The whole idea that people are unwilling to look at a situation and actually require people to follow the rules is FAR scarier to me than any label we can place on people for acts that they themselves have committed. The act of crossing into this country illegally is what brands these people with that label. It's an act that can be construed as sabotague and espionage, both of which carry the penalty of DEATH under international statutes.

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