Letters: Can people be illegal?
All minority groups have had to endure demeaning slurs that reinforce prejudice and its resultant discrimination. As our moral sense matures, we come to see that words make a big difference in shaping our attitudes and cultural creeds.
Thus, it’s disturbing that The Times has still not dropped the term “illegal,” a label usually reserved for acts and not people, when referring to immigrants.
Some claim that deodorizing bigoted language is an exercise in “political correctness,” itself a phrase of denigration. In reality, these are exercises in “moral correctness” and in some cases “legal correctness.”
Douglas J. Miller
The term “illegal” applies to a process such as immigration, not to a person. The term “undocumented” suggests that the migrants merely overlooked some paperwork on the way in rather than deliberately violated immigration law. In fact, they are documented in their home countries.
That this serious violation of U.S. sovereignty is considered an administrative offense rather than a criminal act further clouds the issue.
All said, the most accurate term would be “immigration violator.”
I hear that illegal immigrants prefer to call themselves “undocumented.” This is political correctness gone mad. These people have no right to prefer anything. I suggest a few more politically correct terms:
Burglar: unkeyed entrant.
Drunk driving: roadworthiness challenged.
Embezzler: Accountancy artist.
Richard P. Ahearn
A cure for the common opinion
Get thought-provoking perspectives with our weekly newsletter.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.