‘Illegal Immigratant’ Too Harsh?

When you hear the term “illegal immigrant’ do you get a sick feeling in your stomach or a little bit of anger and resentment towards the term?

Although I cannot speak for all Americans, based on the polls against illegal immigration and supporting stronger border control I would say that many Americans probably do.  I’m sure many illegal immigrants are here trying to make an honest living (illegal status aside of course), but its the overloading of our social services and welfare system, increased crime, and threat to national security that sours the term illegal immigrant to the hard working American citizen. However, this article is not about how hard working American citizens feel about the term illegal immigrant.  It’s about how the Latinos find the term offensive.

From The Daily Caller:

The Diversity Committee of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) is seeking to “inform and sensitize” reporters nationwide about how “offensive” the term “illegal immigrant” is to Latinos.

Diversity Committee member Leo Laurence announced the campaign against “illegal immigrant” and “illegal alien” terminology in the latest issue of the organization’s magazine, Quill, writing that those who have not obtained citizenship but have entered the country without any prior approval should be called “undocumented workers” or “undocumented immigrants.”

In his report, Laurence quotes SPJ Diversity Committee chairman George Daniels as saying, “this is not about being politically correct,” but about aiming to “minimize harm,” when reporting. When Daniels says “minimize harm,” he is referring to one of the major tenets of SPJ’s code of ethics, which many journalists nationwide follow.

The SPJ goes on in their Diversity Toolbox to make the legal claim that only a judge can deem someone illegal or legal – you know, the whole innocent before proven guilty right that Americans enjoy?

One of the most basic of our constitutional rights is that everyone (including non-citizens) is innocent of any crime until proven guilty in a court of law. That’s guaranteed under the Fifth, Sixth and 14th Amendments of the Constitution, as I learned during four-year post-doctoral studies in appellate law at the California Court of Appeal in San Diego.

Simply put, only a judge, not a journalist, can say that someone is an illegal.

At the national convention in Las Vegas, the Diversity Committee took up the idea of a formal resolu-tion I had submitted at the request of several members of CCNMA: Latino Journalists of California, of which I’m also a member.

It was based on our federal, constitutional principle that everyone is considered innocent of any crime until proven guilty in a court of law. The proposed Diversity Committee resolution urged journalists to use the phrase “undocumented immigrant(s), and avoid both “illegal immigrant” or “illegal alien.”

Are we to presume that an illegal act is not illegal unless a judge or jury rules it so?  Is murder only illegal if you are found guilty in court?  Sure, you may be innocent until proven guilty in the court of law, but the act of murder is still illegal just as is the act of being un the United States undocumented.

So please, lets call a spade a spade.  They are undocumented immigrants.  Being undocumented is illegal.  Thus they are illegal immigrants!