Professor Jacobson posted an article on Saturday night relating to the term “Illegal Alien” and a current push to associate the term with racism.
Mónica Novoa writing for the ARC’s website Colorlines, cries racism:
The i-word in any form (“illegals”, “illegal alien” and “illegal immigrant”) is packed with ideas about who immigrants are and what their role is in society and in this nation. … The i-word is the furthest from neutral language and communicates anti-immigrant animus that has over time become deeply embedded and accepted throughout media and government institutions.
Here in California there has been a push for years to discontinue the use of the word illegal in association with Immigrant or alien by suggesting that “People can’t be illegal.”
But that is nonsense. When my grandparents immigrated from Italy World War II was about to break out. They had to find sponsors, learn English, learn our constitution, and find a way to support themselves. They became Citizens via “the process.” My grandmother used to talk about how hard it was and how proud she was to achieve it. But she also spoke passionately about how she benefited from naturalization, especially learning to speak English, and earned the freedom to do what she wanted on her own.
Today, recognizing that an immigrant is outside the legal immigration system is racist. And even suggesting that potential citizens should participate in the naturalization process is unacceptable. A lot can go very wrong, economically, socially, and culturally when people are isolated in subcultures and unable to participate in the larger world. That is the root of anti-immigrant animus.