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Don't Like the Word Illegal? Don't Break the Law!

Updated on December 30, 2017

The Rule of Law?

The Rule of Law
The Rule of Law | Source

What Do You Call Illegal Immigrants?

According to a Fox News poll, nearly half of Latino voters do not approve of the terms "illegal alien" or "illegal immigrant." Is it just the term that offends them? Are any of them offended that they became citizens through legal channels and others simply appropriated the benefits illegally? After all, if those polled were voters, they must be legal citizens—or at least I hope so. We may never know, since the federal government is determined to keep states from checking.

I can understand young people, brought here illegally when they were children, objecting to being labeled "illegal." After all, it was their parents who broke the law. Much like the "illegitimate" label, children are given labels based on their parents' bad behavior. While "illegal" and "illegitimate" are accurate terms in a court of law and in legal documents, it is unfortunate that young adults who grew up in America are not legal citizens because their parents didn't care enough to think of their futures when they originally broke our immigration laws. It is also unfortunate that the law was not enforced in time to prevent those children from spending their entire childhoods in legal limbo.

Words Have Meanings

Changing the words used to describe something does not change the nature of the thing being described. Euphemisms might make some people feel better, but using a prettier term does not change an ugly problem that needs a real solution.

I strenuously object to the term "undocumented immigrant" because it is not as accurate a term as "illegal immigrant." "Undocumented" makes it seem like "Oops! I misplaced those pesky documents again," when in fact some people don't have documents because they did not enter the United States legally or they overstayed their temporary visas. We do not call shoplifters "customers without receipts." We call them thieves because that is the legal truth of the matter. Perhaps a more accurate term for illegal immigrants would be "international trespasser."

The Sad Consequences of Lawbreaking

If people do not want the word "illegal" attached to their names, there is a solution. Obey the law. For those who complain that following the law is too hard, I say, "Tough!" This is America, where most of us follow an unbelievable number of laws and regulations every day. We follow the laws because, in this great country, we have the freedom to vote and petition and change laws as needed. As for children who are the victims of their parents' illegal decisions, I do pity them. At the same time, I hate a system that will reward those lawbreaking parents with citizenship through chain immigration if their children, when they become adults, go through the effort to become citizens.The parents should have done that for their children in the first place. They could have saved everyone a lot of trouble.


Salazar, C. (2012, March 8). "Almost Half of Latino Voters Find "Illegal Immigrant" Offensive, Says Poll. Fox News Latino. Retrieved March 9, 2012, from

A Few More Links

I wrote a bit about immigration in one of my blogs. The Federation for American Immigration Reform has an informative article on the characteristics of legal immigrants that readers should also check out.


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    • kschimmel profile image

      Kimberly Schimmel 5 years ago from North Carolina, USA

      ...and this evening the president will have illegal aliens as invited guests at the State of the Union. Would he be as forgiving if I chose to ignore his health care law or pay my taxes, I wonder?

    • kschimmel profile image

      Kimberly Schimmel 5 years ago from North Carolina, USA

      Remember, voters, Obama won't let your states protect themselves. If he's reelected, he'll appoint more "Justices" who will help him make our borders entirely meaningless.

    • kschimmel profile image

      Kimberly Schimmel 5 years ago from North Carolina, USA

      The Supreme Court has heard from Arizona and from the DC apologists. We await their decision on whether or not states can defend themselves when Washington won't.

    • profile image

      francis5k 6 years ago

      very good article! it's very interesting to me. good idea! yeah you're right kschimmel Don't Break the Law.

    • marywanders profile image

      marywanders 6 years ago from minnesota

      Write on, here's one for you

      politically correct= just a nicer way of lying

      I get in trouble for telling the truth, I can't stand the euphemism, just tell the truth its much easier than remembering garbage.

      voted up etc

    • jm72writes profile image

      jm72writes 6 years ago from Missouri

      Great hub! I love to see other people take a stand, even when it may not be popular or politically correct. I also believe we shouldn't reward people who used illegal means to gain entrance in this country.

    • profile image

      Sue 6 years ago

      The correct term is Illegal Alien........ a green card holder is called a resident alien (no uses the word 'Alien' on the green card.

    • American Romance profile image

      American Romance 6 years ago from America

      Great to see other Americans get it! voted up!

    • Natashalh profile image

      Natasha 6 years ago from Hawaii

      I love it! I agree, illegal means illegal. Voted awesome and up!

    • kschimmel profile image

      Kimberly Schimmel 6 years ago from North Carolina, USA

      As a writer, I do not like it when people try to obscure their meaning with pretty words--it's dishonest. While I appreciate beautiful language, I also want that language to be accurate!

    • Cassie Smith profile image

      Cassie Smith 6 years ago from U.S.

      It's amazing to me how the liberals make up different terms in order to erase or muddy reality. Illegal aliens are undocumented immigrants, war is called kinetic military action, Islamic terrorism is just terrorism but there is such a thing as domestic terrorism, and marriage also includes two gays or two lesbians. For this administration -- up is down and west is east. Conservative voices need to fight just to have things called what they are.