Aliens need legalization, not protection from being called ‘illegal’

Aliens need legalization, not protection from being called ‘illegal’

Recently, CNN obtained a copy of a Justice Department email to the U.S. Attorneys offices that updates instructions on describing alien status in press releases.

It requires them to use the term, “illegal alien,” when the unlawful presence of an alien is an established fact. If the lawfulness of an alien’s status is uncertain, they are required to use a reference to his country of citizenship. For instance, if he is from Canada, they are supposed to refer to him as “a Canadian citizen.” The term “undocumented” should never be used to describe illegal presence in the United States. It has no basis in the U.S. Code.  

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Aliens here unlawfully should be far more concerned about being deported than they are about the names people call them, but advocacy groups have claimed that calling them “illegal aliens” causes serious harm.

 

According to Race Forward’s campaign to Drop the I-Word, it is dehumanizing, racist, and legally inaccurate to call someone an “illegal alien.”

House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) recently blasted GOP legislators for using the term. She claims that it is not constructive.

La Clínica del Pueblo has launched a “No Human Being is Illegal” campaign. They were inspired by Elie Wiesel who said, “You who are so-called illegal aliens must know that no human being is illegal. … Human beings can be beautiful or more beautiful, they can be fat or skinny, they can be right or wrong, but illegal?”

Are these pejorative connotations coming from the people who use the term, or do they only exist in the minds of the people who dislike “illegal alien?” And when did it start being wrong to use that expression. Democrats used to refer to aliens here unlawfully as “illegal aliens” or “illegal immigrants.”

In any case, this debate fosters bad feelings on both sides and diverts attention from the threat of deportation, which is a much more serious matter.

Aliens who enter the U.S. without inspection are subject to expedited removal proceedings if they are apprehended within 100 miles of the border within 14 days of their entries, which means that they will be deported without a hearing unless they establish a credible fear of persecution.

Aliens who enter as nonimmigrant visitors under the Visa Waiver Program and overstay their admission periods are not entitled to a hearing either, unless they apply for asylum.  

There is a time limit on applying for asylum. With some exceptions, aliens have to apply for asylum within a year of their arrival in the United States.

And, although illegal presence is not a crime, entering without inspection is a crime. A first offense is subject to incarceration for up to six months, a second for up to two years.

They need legalization

The last legalization program was established by the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, more than 30 years ago. The Democrats claim that this is because the Republicans won’t cooperate, but that isn’t true.

The Democrats could have established a legalization program without Republican cooperation during the first two years of Barack Obama’s administration. From January 2009 to January 2011, they had a majority in the House, and until Scott Brown’s special election in 2010, there were enough Democratic senators to overcome a filibuster.  

And they could establish one now if they really wanted to.

Trump is willing to support legalization for 1.8 million aliens in the DACA program if the Democrats accept the three conditions in his framework on immigration reform and border security.

Trump wants to end chain migration. This should not be a deal-breaker if the legalization program were to be established by expanding the availability of Special Immigrant Juveniles (SIJ) status to include DACA participants, which could restrict the end of chain migration to them as opposed to ending it for everyone.

SIJ provisions state, “no natural parent or prior adoptive parent of any alien provided special immigrant status under this subparagraph shall thereafter, by virtue of such parentage, be accorded any right, privilege, or status under this Act.”

I’ve suggested this possibility before.

Trump also wants a wall along the border with Mexico, which would make it more difficult for parents to make illegal crossings with their young children in the future. Adults may be able to climb over a wall 20 or 30 feet high, but young children can’t.

The other condition is to terminate the Diversity Visa Program (DVP).

The Democrats have been willing to end the DVP in the past.  Sen. Chuck Schumer’s (D-N.Y.) Gang of Eight bill would have repealed it in 2013 if it had been enacted.

The problem seems to be that legalization isn’t very important to the Democrats.

Nolan Rappaport was detailed to the House Judiciary Committee as an executive branch immigration law expert for three years. He subsequently served as an immigration counsel for the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims for four years. Prior to working on the Judiciary Committee, he wrote decisions for the Board of Immigration Appeals for 20 years.