Friday, August 11, 2017

Being an illegal alien does not make one a criminal.

Writing in today's Tennessean, immigration control advocate Donna Locke had me nodding my head in agreement and saying, "I glad someone is saying that."  This is the first sentence of her essay that elicited my positive response:

In response to recent reporting and commentary, it's worth noting that our country now contains a multitude of people devoted to erasing all distinctions between illegal aliens and legal immigrants and between non-citizens and citizens.
She is exactly right.  In newspapers and radio and TV reports, legal and illegal immigrants are lumped together and simply called "immigrants."  There ought to be a distinction.  I do not believe the erasing of the distinction is without intent. The intent is to change the way we think about the issue.  It is part of the liberal agenda.  Not that I think mainstream media people get their marching orders daily from a secret bunker in the basement of the New York Times, but the groupthink of liberalism causes some words to fall out of fashion.  Politically correct people just do not use certain terms and one of them is "illegal alien" or "illegal immigrant." 

Using the term "illegal alien" is like using the term "Negro;" it is just something that enlighten educated sensitive people do not do.  It is the way "gay" has replaced homosexual. Journalist, I think, see it as their job to influence the way people think about things. They see it as their job to make people better.  Using the term "illegal alien" is sort of like calling an unwed mother an "unwed mother" rather than a "single mother."  It is impolite and by changing the terminology, the way people think about things can be changed. The closest mainstream media people can come to drawing a distinction between legal and illegal immigrants is in using the term "undocumented immigrant," and they only use that term reluctantly when necessary to understand the content of the story.

After eliciting my head nodding agreement in the first sentence, Ms Locke started to lose me in the second sentence when she wrote:
We see every conceivable effort to hide and deny the words "illegal" and "criminal" in regard to foreigners who entered our country without our government's permission or remained here after their legal visas expired. 
She then went on to say:
As for attempts to paint illegal aliens as noncriminals, illegal entry and visa overstay are criminal, deportable offenses, and U.S. immigration courts can put these offenders into detention (prison) and sentence them to serve time till they're deported.
Calling all illegal aliens "criminals," is as offensive and agenda driven as is erasing the distinction between legal and illegal immigrants. By labeling all illegal aliens as criminals, it puts in the same category those who simply over stayed a visa with those who are M-13 gang members or rapist. It is an agenda driven attempt to demonize all illegal aliens and influence the way we think about them. Actually, illegal aliens commit less crime than the average American.  This is fact and one can look it up. 

What is a criminal? If a friend said of a mutual acquaintance, "Well, you know he is a criminal."  I would think the person had committed a serious crime.  I would think he committed armed robbery or burglary or embezzled funds or defrauded someone.  Those who use the term "criminal" to define someone who overstayed a visa or illegally entered the country will defend calling the illegal aliens "criminals" by saying, they entered the country illegally so by definition they are criminals.

By saying that anyone who does something illegal is a criminal, then we are all criminals.  With a vast bureaucratic state with bureaucrats empowered to promulgate rules which are in effect laws, I doubt there is no one not guilty of breaking some law. I can think of two laws I am guilty of violating right now and that does not include the driving offenses of which I have been guilty.

If someone said of a mutual acquaintance, "Well, you know he is a criminal." I would not think that he is someone who littered, jaywalked, ran a red light, or engaged in home sharing without the proper permit. I would not even think of someone found guilty of drunk driving or soliciting a prostitute or guilty of procession of marijuana as a criminal.

Entering the Country illegal or overstaying a visa is a federal misdemeanor. It is more like jaywalking than breaking and entering.

Here is a list of some other federal misdemeanors.
  • Transportation of water hyacinth
  • Failure to pay legal child support obligations
  • Desecration of the flag of the United States
  • Wearing a military ribbon or medal to which one is not entitled
  • Fraudulently using the 4-H Club emblem 
  • Unauthorized use of the "Smokey Bear" character or name
  • Transportation of fireworks into a state prohibiting the sale or use of fireworks
  • Hunting, trapping, or fishing on Indian land without a permit.
Would you call someone who transported water hyacinth a criminal? Would you call neighbor who bought home a bunch of Georgia fireworks a criminal?

I am not defending illegal immigration, but find it just as offensive to paint all illegal aliens as criminals as I do to erase the distinction between illegal immigrants and legal immigrants. 

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1 comment:

  1. Several excellent points, Rod. I still tend to think of illegals as criminal but you have certainly caused me to reconsider that position. BTW, burning the U.S. flag and fraudulently wearing a military decoration are no longer criminal having been struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court.