Voice of the People
Illegal immigrants are what they are
Before declaring victory against the language of bigotry (Herald-Dispatch, April 7), David Sirota should have consulted a nonpartisan dictionary regarding the correct definition of "illegal." Referring to the Associated Press's politically correct decision to stop using the term "illegal immigrant," Mr. Sirota quoted a statement of AP Editor Kathleen Carroll, justifying that decision as "a defense of grammar," (?) on the premise that the term "illegal" properly describes "only an action" and is not an appropriate label to describe a human being.
Wordsmith Carroll should be shamed for her inability to distinguish an adjective from a verb. Almost without exception, English dictionaries define "illegal" as "prohibited by law; against the law; unlawful; unauthorized; unsanctioned and, specifically, an alien who has entered the U.S. illegally." Ms. Caroll notwithstanding, these definitions connote status rather than action. It is clear that, "illegal" is a perfectly legitimate term to describe an alien's illegitimate status.
Mr. Sirota correctly points out that "illegal presence" in the U. S. is not a crime under U. S. criminal laws. But, just because the U. S. has elected to not punish as crime a violation of its immigration laws, does not render such violation any less illegal.
It is a favorite tactic of the progressive left to arbitrarily redefine or "sanitize" words it finds offensive. But the obvious purpose of Mr. Sirota's article is to falsely indict the GOP for the offense of bigotry, said to be directed only at Latinos, thus to pressure them to stop using the term illegal immigrant to describe an illegal immigrant, in the hope that changing the language will render their illegal presence less offensive to Americans, and ease the path to citizenship for (how else can I say it?) illegal immigrants.
Lawrence L. Pauley
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