Illegals Rhetoric by Romney Alienates Hispanics
Some forms of immigration might be illegal, but people who do it are undocumented. In tonight’s first presidential debate, it is almost a certainty that questions will arise about Hispanics, immigration and undocumented immigrants since Denver has quickly become a metropolitan area that is over 30% Hispanic.
Romney has said that Hispanics are a critical bloc of voters, especially in battleground states like Colorado, Florida and North Carolina. If he is asked how or what he should do to not alienate the largest minority group in the country, he might start by not calling them “illegal aliens.”
Language in this situation is particularly important. Action (crossing the border illegally) has for a long time been merged with a section of people (illegals). However, actions are illegal, but never people. Nevertheless, when the topic of illegal immigration surfaces a term that dehumanizes, causes isolation and inflames the situation is often used. The word illegal often times politicizes or oversimplifies an issue that is much broader and integrated.
The Pew Hispanic Center estimates that over 17 million people live legally in the country, but are in households with a minimum of one person who is an undocumented immigrant. To simplify it even more, illegal immigration is a sister, cousin or even parent of a U.S. resident or citizen.
Many politicians use the same reference when describing immigrants as illegal and to blame just Romney would not be correct. However, President Barack Obama used undocumented immigrant in nearly all of his speeches, interviews and on his website.
Romney on the other hand, since he first run back in 2008 for the presidency, has used the terms illegals, illegal immigrants and illegal aliens interchangeably. His use of the word is not all about semantics. His choice of those words is a reflection of his policies regarding immigration.