Illegally legal

22 Aug

This is something you’ll either agree with or go get a beer.

A small group of immigrants gathered to protest the use of the word “illegal” to describe those who have entered the United States without documentation.

“By saying illegal, they’re assuming that we broke a criminal law. Not everybody enters illegally.”

Coordinators of the event said they prefer the phrase “undocumented immigrant.”

An undocumented immigrant is in this country illegally, so the logic escapes us too.

An immigrant rights advocate who organized the protest, said using the word “illegal” criminalizes a whole community.

“It’s a racist word against our community, so we’re just here to raise awareness.”

Seriously, racist?

This is part of a larger effort nationwide to push the media to stop using the word “illegal” when referring to immigrants.

The “Drop The I-Word” campaign was organized by The Applied Research Center, a New York City-based racial justice think tank.

Its goal, according to its website, is to “eradicate the slur ‘illegals’ from everyday use and public discourse.”

Campaign coordinator Monica Novoa said that in two years, 14,000 people have signed the group’s pledge.

That’s really not that many.

Then, Alina Das, assistant professor of clinical law at New York University:
“Using a phrase like ‘illegal aliens’ or ‘illegals’ . . . reinforces the notion that you could treat another individual as less than a human being. One action — whether it’s a crime — shouldn’t be used to define a whole group of people or one individual.”

We finish with 18-year old Elias Llivicura, who describes himself as undocumented:
“We also have feelings too. It makes me feel like I’m different from everybody else. It makes me feel like really bad inside.”

We’re sorry.

Here, have a virtual hug.

2 Responses to “Illegally legal”

  1. Anonymous August 22, 2012 at 8:18 am #

    I read this in my kitchen…whoops, nutrition center, just before I got in my used…whoops, pre-owned car and drove to my job as personnel….whoops, human resources director

    • Honolulu Notes August 22, 2012 at 4:06 pm #

      …where you continued work on your EOE report to make sure your company is balanced by race, gender, sexual preference, disability, age, opportunity, religion and hair style.

      Honolulu Notes

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