In an apparent attempt to change legal terms in order to fit a politically-correct version of what it means to illegally enter and attempt to live in a foreign country, the Chicago Tribune is using its bully pulpit to attack the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ use of the standard term “illegal alien.”
“In a democracy that values the rule of law, word choice is important, especially when those words come from voices of authority,” wrote reporter Todd Slowik last week, in a column titled, “Loaded ‘illegal alien’ phrase introduced in sanctuary cities crackdown,” as if the Trump administration invented the phrase.
Breitbart pointed out on Monday that “alien” is the word used by the federal government to identify any person in the United States from a foreign country. In fact, the Internal Revenue Service defines an alien as “an individual who is not a U.S. citizen or U.S. national,” specifying “immigrant,” “nonimmigrant,” and “illegal alien.” The official definition of an illegal alien is “an alien who has entered the United States illegally and is deportable if apprehended or an alien who entered the United States legally but now has fallen ‘out of status’ and is deportable.”
The Tribune, however, doesn’t seem to realize that the definition of “illegal alien” was not created or added to the government’s lexicon by anyone in the Trump administration, writing, “A not-so-subtle shift in word choice by the U.S. Department of Justice this week has largely gone unnoticed. I’d like to call attention to it. I think it’s another sign of how quickly a ‘new normal’ is taking hold, regardless of foundation in facts or law.”
Slowik seems oblivious to the fact that the term has been in place for decades. And, even though the Obama administration did try to put its own politically-correct spin on the term, it made no attempt to change the definition in government manuals or regulations.
If our readers are interested in peering into the mind of one liberal journalist who ignores history and takes offense at the application of a legal term to describe an illegal act, and who doesn’t want to accept the truth, here’s an excerpt from Slowik’s rant:
I thought it was odd that the nation’s top law enforcement agent repeatedly used a phrase that is loaded with implied guilt. For years, government officials, attorneys, media and others have avoided using the phrase — or at least acknowledged its implications — and used wording like “undocumented” or “unauthorized” instead.
For example, in the July 9, 2014, announcement, “Department of Justice Announces New Priorities to Address Surge of Migrants Crossing into the U.S.,” then-Deputy Attorney General James Cole chose such language as “migrants,” “asylum seekers” and “unaccompanied minors.”
Why does this matter? The phrase “illegal alien” plays into assumptions that immigrants living in this country without proper documentation are criminals. In fact, immigration status is often a civil matter, not a criminal one.
Simply coming into the country illegally labels a person an “illegal alien.” It has nothing to do with having committed any other crime. Try walking into Mexico without authorization, and you’ll likely be arrested.
The terms “asylum seekers” and “unaccompanied minors” are separated from the more encompassing term, illegal alien, as an “asylum seeker” doesn’t always denote illegal status. A legal immigrant on a temporary visa who wants to live in the United States because of horrific conditions in their home country is an asylum seeker.
“Unaccompanied minor” is a term used for any child not supervised by a parent, but when referring to minors illegally entering the United States, the legal term used by U.S. Customs and Border Protection is “unaccompanied alien children.”
Nonetheless, Slowik concluded his piece by claiming, “’Illegal alien’ is a loaded phrase, and everyone – especially the president and attorney general – should be careful how they use it.”
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