NYC Bans the Term “Illegal Alien”
Here’s a question that’s bothered me for years. Why are we so worried about offending people who break our laws?
I’m talking about illegal aliens. The millions of foreigners who deliberately violated immigration laws and are living in the US without permission.
When I worked in newspapers we played word games trying to describe those here illegally.
At first, we called them “illegal aliens.”
It was a simple, accurate description.
After all, American immigration laws refer to non-citizens as “aliens.” When I lived in Ireland in the 1980s I carried papers showing my legal status as a “resident alien.”
No offense was intended. Or taken. I was familiar with the English language, I knew what alien meant: A foreigner.
Foreigners are what these folks are too. But they’re here illegally, making them illegal aliens.
The term is not a slur.
Still, it wasn’t long before newspaper stylebooks and editors banned the “a” word. Suddenly these millions of illegal aliens were referred to as “illegal immigrants.”
Soon even that was considered pejorative. And Lord knows, we didn’t want to hurt the feelings of criminals.
We were told by those far smarter that the millions of people who were in the country illegally were offended when their immigration status was pointed out. So we usually called them either “undocumented immigrants” or “undocumented workers.”
Undocumented. As if they’d left their papers on a bus.
What’s next, I often wondered. Will we have to call them “uninvited guests”?
Fact is, the tens of millions of people in this country ARE illegal aliens. They’re foreign nationals here illegally. That doesn’t make them bad people. It does make them lawbreakers.
It’s one thing for newspapers to make rules about what’s allowed to be printed on their pages. It’s another for government to try to censor language. When the latter happens, the Constitution kicks in.
Last week New York City’s Human Rights Commission decided that anyone who uses “illegal alien” toward an illegal alien is subject to a fine as high as $250,000.
That is, if they use the term with “intent to demean, humiliate or harass a person.”
Well, this is going to be fun. Looks like apparatchiks in New York’s City Hall will now determine the intent behind words. Positively Orwellian.
Clarifications have been issued, saying this rule only applies in the workplace, housing and public accommodation, which - last time I checked - was basically everywhere.
We all know what’s going on here. The far left — the open borders crowd - wants to grant citizenship to illegal aliens and get them on the voter rolls as soon as possible.
The first step?
Force the public to adopt squishy euphemisms and threaten them with hefty fines for uttering words that the government has banned.
First Amendment lawyers, start your engines.