By Kassandra Garcia |Staff Writer|
“Illegal” immigration has been the defining characteristic since before our country began.
So I cannot help but cringe whenever I hear anti-immigration protesters use “stop illegal alien invasion” and “make America, American again” as a means to get their point across.
In my opinion, this type of abrasive language contributes to the animosity towards immigrants which allows these individuals to be dehumanized.
On top of that, it makes me question the logic behind anti-immigration supporters.
Have they forgotten that this country was established by immigrants and not once were they referred to as alien or illegal?
“Repetition of phrases like ‘illegal immigrants’ is like a poison that infects society,” said Charles Garcia of CNN.
The terms “illegal” and “alien” were first coined in the 1920s after those who previously settled began to find mass immigration as a danger to the health and security of their newly established country, the United States.
Ironically enough, immigration reforms were established by immigrants for immigrants.
I understand that illegal immigration is a huge issue but the term “illegal alien” was born to stigmatize undocumented immigrants and in no way helps the United States’ immigration problem.
Anti-immigration protesters argue that the use of these terms are not used pejoratively, but are used as an accurate description of immigrants.
According to Elie Wiesel, Nobel Peace Prize winner and Holocaust survivor, the use of “illegal alien” is inaccurate, offensive and should be eliminated from our public discourse.
I strongly agree with Wiesel. When you label someone an “illegal alien” or “illegal immigrant” or just plain “illegal,” you are effectively saying the individual, as opposed to their actions, is unlawful.
“You who are so-called illegal aliens must know that no human being is illegal,” said Elie Wiesel.
According to the Immigration and Nationality Act, being “illegally” present in the United States is a civil violation, not a criminal one.
“The terms imply the very existence of unauthorized migrants in America and label them less than. These terms criminalize and dehumanize immigrants,” said student Ashley Vargas.
Why are undocumented immigrants today seen as an “alien” or an “illegal”? Why are they dehumanized and frowned upon when this whole country was founded on immigration?
“It’s crazy that people think it’s okay to even call someone an alien. My dad first came here without papers and told us how poorly he was treated because of it,” said a student who asked to remain anonymous.
“We’re all here legally, including my dad, now, and he’s so happy because he doesn’t have to deal with the torment,” added the student.
This whole “stop alien invasion and reclaim America” protest is ridiculous.
People trying to reclaim something that was never rightfully theirs is hilarious.
So the fact that these protesters even argue deportation and use stigmatizing and dehumanizing terminology is ironic.
Don’t preach about how all illegal aliens need to be deported because if that were truly the case, anti-immigration protesters along with everyone else should be deported.