Readers disagree about whether the word "illegal" should be used in immigration coverage

Our post yesterday about Colorado signing on to the Secure Communities program sparked a debate among commenters after reporter Melanie Asmar used the term "illegal immigrants." Should the word "illegal" be used in that way? Or is it unnecessarily pejorative? Here are two strong views:

Piper wrote:

1) Westword: please stop using the word ixxlegal. People are not illegal and we don't use that label for anyone else who has broken the law.

2) Our laws our faulty and do nothing to address the root causes of immigration: trade and foreign policies which make very few of us richer and everyone else, especially in developing countries, poorer.

3) This program is a mass deportation program regardless of a person's criminal history or lack therof. It's arrest, not conviction based so we've basically said if you're an immigrant, due process doesn't matter. A very slippery and dangerous slope to go back down. I'm against it. And I'm equally against the deception and the spin from the Governor's office. There are no protections for anyone, not victims, not witnesses of crime, not anyone.

Magyart countered with this:

The people that ignore the legal pathway that has been established for legal immigration, realize their conduct may result in deportation. They are not deported because they were arrested, but because they lack a legal immigration status.

If residents lack a legal immigration status, they are illegal alien residents !

We must also reject the argument that only serious criminals be deported. The federal govt. must continuously increase the annual number of deportations and implement a zero tolerance policy.

We need E-verify legislation at a nation level and change our policy of granting citizenship to "anchor babies".

The American citizen and legal immigrant has rejected CIR and the DREAM Act.

For more memorable takes, check out our Comment of the Day archive.

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JDCampbell
JDCampbell

"The act of police and other law enforcement purposely choosing people based off of their race, religion, ethnicity, etc, to arrest...." religion? That would be an interesting arrest.

The assumption of profiling, racism, etc; is what special interest groups believe police departments would do, for what, extra credit? Secondly, police departments don't "make up offenses", but they do love to hand out tickets to fill their coffers. Illegals are not going to fill their quotes. Anyone committing a criminal offense is subject to being booked and finger printed. If they are found to be in the country illegally, they should be deported immediately. This along with E-Verify would go a long way to ending human smuggling and the burden mass illegal migration places on American society.

Tristen Davis
Tristen Davis

"The new law is meant to be transparent in that anyone who's picked up will have their prints run through the ICE database. Special interest call that profiling."I think there is a misunderstanding of what is being called profiling. The act of picking someone up and running their fingerprints through ICE is not profiling. The act of police and other law enforcement purposely choosing people based off of their race, religion, ethnicity, etc, to arrest (for a myriad of low level or made up offenses) in sole efforts to be able to run their fingerprints through ICE because these people "look like an immigrant" is what constitutes profiling, and any practice of this nature (be it relative to immigration or other issues) is not constitution and is in direct conflict with not only a variety of US laws, but also larger International Laws and Treaties that the US is signatory to.

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Obviously, this is a divisive topic. Thanks for sharing your viewpoints, Abenzrite and JDCampbell.

JDCampbell
JDCampbell

Your going to get a lot of spin from the LSM that attempt to shield special interest groups that promote breaking immigration law, but that's common. Bottom line if you enforce the law than you become an instant bigot, racist, etc. The new law is meant to be transparent in that anyone who's picked up will have their prints run through the ICE database. Special interest call that profiling. What's more deceptive is how the term "immigrant" is used by the media today. Anyone in the country who just arrived (right) legally or illegally is considered an immigrant. The real definition of an immigrant has been largely ignored for years and re-defined to protect those who come here illegally. The new PC immigrant of today does not have to learn English, respect or obey our laws or want to become an American.

Abenzrite
Abenzrite

The Word "Illegal" Means "Not Legal" the opposite of Legal, is Criminal, and this is Actually what you are calling these People, Criminals, Truth is, They are Immigrants. Like All of us.

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