Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Nicer term for illegals

The News-Press reported A state legislator whose district is home to thousands of Caribbean immigrants wants to ban the term "illegal alien" from the state's official documents.

Do we have a lot of people from Caribbean nations sneaking into the US?
"I personally find the word 'alien' offensive when applied to individuals, especially to children," said Sen. Frederica Wilson, D-Miami. "An alien to me is someone from out of space."
Have you seen one? Been abducted by one? Had one perform strange procedures on you?
She has introduced a bill providing that: "A state agency or official may not use the term 'illegal alien' in an official document of the state." There would be no penalty for using the words.
Then why forbid them from using it?
In Miami-Dade County, Wilson said, "we don't say 'alien,' we say 'immigrant.'"
But do you say ILLEGAL immigrant?
She said she encountered the situation when trying to pass a bill allowing children of foreigners to get in-state tuition at colleges and universities. Wilson, who directs a dropout prevention and education program in Miami, said she politely asks witnesses at public hearings on such issues not to use the term.
Don't try to pass such legislation. Why should an illegal alien / immigrant / whatever get instate tuition, when a legal resident of one of the 49 other states in the US has to pay more?
"There are students in our schools whose parents are trying to become citizens and we shouldn't label them," she said. "They are immigrants, through no fault of their own, not aliens."
If they are legal immigrants, let them first become citizens, then qualify for in state residence.
Wilson said the first word isn't as bad as the second. "'Illegal,' I can live with, but I like 'undocumented' better," she said.
Whatever you call them, don't give them special status over US citizens.
Asked if her bill (SB 2154) might run afoul of Gov. Charlie Crist's "plain speaking" mandate for government agencies, Wilson said, "I think getting rid of 'alien' would be plain speaking."

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