Every year, immigrants in search of better lives for themselves and their families make the effort to follow the proper procedures to enter the United States. Many contribute their fair share to society. However, it is neither fair to them nor to the American people when politicians attempt to place illegal aliens on equal footing as those coming here lawfully. That is exactly what Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) did.
Rep. Castro, the brother of Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro who is pushing to decriminalize illegal immigration, introduced legislation earlier this month to remove the terms “illegal” and “illegal alien” from immigration laws passed by the federal government. In Orwellian fashion, his legislation aims to replace the two terms with “foreign national” and “undocumented foreign national.”
“The words ‘alien’ and ‘illegal alien’ work to demonize and dehumanize the migrant community,” he said. “They should have no place in our government’s description of human beings.”
While this legislation is unlikely to be enacted by Congress anytime soon, it still highlights the push by open-borders activists and politicians to use a linguistic sleight of hand to alter public discourse surrounding the sometimes controversial issue of immigration. The purpose of altering this language is to “transform public perception on the [illegal immigration]issue by removing any indication that illegal aliens are engaged in unlawful activity,” according to the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).
For decades, open-borders activists successfully lobbied mainstream media outlets to drop the terms “illegal alien” and “illegal immigrant” and pick up the more sanitized term “undocumented immigrant.” In 2013, the Associated Press buckled under pressure and revised its guidelines so that journalists would no longer refer to anyone as “illegal.” Considering that most publications follow the AP Stylebook, a majority followed suit.
Pro-amnesty activists understand the power of language. Castro is aware of this and even admitted that “words matter.” The idea is that repetition will normalize these more sanitized terms with the public and in turn, normalize the notion that millions of illegal aliens live within the United States. If this occurs, it allows lawmakers like Castro to easily pass a large amnesty or possibly open-borders legislation down the road.
For now, this bill has no real prospects for passage, but the balance of power in Washington is in a constant state of flux. If citizens and lawful immigrants want to avoid another disaster like the amnesty President Ronald Reagan signed in 1986, they must resist attempts from politicians and the media to normalize illegal aliens living within our borders. Modifying the language is only the first step in changing the illegal-immigration debate altogether.