Friday, June 10, 2016

EXTRA: “Illegal” remains illegal, insofar as Congress’ ideologues think

The goofs we send to Capitol Hill, or at least the ones who comprise the House of Representatives, took what I’m sure they believe to be a bold stance with regards to our nation’s immigration policy.
This poster's creators probably think House acted properly
“Illegal” remains a part of the official jargon. As in “Illegal alien” to describe non-citizens currently in the United States without a valid visa.

THE LIBRARY OF Congress had wanted to stop using the term in its official documents, preferring to refer to such people as “non-citizens.” They also wanted to refer to the issue in general as one of “unauthorized immigration.”

Yet the Republican-led House of Representatives, in a purely politically partisan vote, passed a measure Friday forbidding the Library of Congress from imposing such a change. For as far as the ideologues of Congress who have thwarted any effort to make sensible changes in our nation’s immigration policy are concerned, “illegal” is an official part of the jargon and they don’t want to hear from any namby-pamby people who will claim that branding people as “illegal” just because of their existence is offensive and makes our national policy appear all the more absurd.
Personally, I think the whole concept of the term “illegal alien” is a matter of bureaucratese and legal jargon being used grossly out-of-context by people who want to demonize others whom they desperately want to believe are unlike themselves.

Our immigration  policy mess creates signs such as this
It makes sense if one realizes that the official term for a non-citizen who has obtained a valid visa to be in the country is a “resident alien.” The whole concept of use of the word “alien” is meant to distinguish one from a person who has actual U.S. citizenship – either through the accident birth or having completed the naturalization process.

JUST AS WE often try to eliminate overly complex acronyms and jargon to simplify the English language in its daily use, these changes (which have already been adopted by the Associated Press and followed by many newsgathering organizations) are meant to reflect reality.
CASTRO: Sees end of "illegal" someday
Except that some people don’t want to accept reality when it comes to immigration policy. They’re determined to find people to exclude from this country – even though by its very definition it is meant to be a collection of peoples from around the globe

Actually, it is what is part of what makes the United States so unique and helps achieve its greatness.

Trust me when I say that if this country consisted solely of people born here who fit the vision of what an “American” ought to be as perceived by the conservative ideologues, we truly would be on the verge of becoming a third-world nation.

AS FOR THIS issue, Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, (one of the people allegedly under consideration by likely Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton for her V-P running mate slot) may be correct.

This is a change that is bound to be made, and the day will come when Congress will have to change the official legalese of immigration policy – which would then let the Library of Congress reflect reality.

But for now, this is one of those issues in which we’re living through the era that future generations will look back at us and wonder how we could be so ridiculous as to want to go around putting the “illegal” label on everyone except themselves.


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