ExecuRead Blog
ExecuRead Home

"Illegal Immigrant" - Semantics or persecution? April 4, 2013

Objecting to the term "illegal immigrant" is simple semantics, opines Fox's Greta van Susteren in a debate with Jose Antonio Vargas. Seriously?

As a former trial attorney and with a Doctorate of Law to boot, Ms van Susteren appears woefully ignorant about the impact of technically incorrect and manifestly inflammatory terminology. In a court of law, would Ms van Susteren not strenuously object to her client being referred to as "the murderer" or "the rapist" rather than as the "accused" or the "defendant", in the absence of a conviction? Unless this country adopted the French Code Napoleon while we were all wondering about Mark Sanford's Argentinian mistress/fiance's legal status in the USA, we still assume a presumption of innocence until proven guilty in a court of law. And while a person who allegedly enters this country without permission, or who allegedly overstays a valid visa, may be charged with an offense and perhaps even convicted, until so charged and convicted, the presumption of innocence must prevail. Anything less is factually incorrect, inflammatory and a travesty of justice and human dignity.

But perhaps that is precisely why we prefer to use the term "illegal immigrant" -- because it is so inflammatory, conjuring up images of undesirable invaders who are stealing our jobs, over-burdening our education and health-care systems and diluting our American gene-pool. A bit like the persecution of "Jews" in Germany 1939 and "wetbacks" and "niggers" in the 1950's and 1960's USA.

That we need a solution to the immigration debacle is beyond question. However a realistic, practical and workable solution will only be the result of both sides being respectful of one another, cognizant of the dignity and inherent goodness and patriotism of both sides of the immigration divide, and absent inflammatory name-calling.