Commentary

Commentary: On being the ‘illegal’ immigrant

I’m off to the Garda office on the Quays to become a ‘legal’ immigrant in Ireland.  The last time I was there an immigration officer called me an ‘illegal’ immigrant, a popular term used to describe undocumented people in the U.S.

The term ‘illegal’, however, is misleading. In the U.S., for example, it’s not a criminal offense to be an undocumented person.  It’s a civil offense.  To call a person ‘illegal’, therefore, is like calling someone a criminal before their trial has even started.  It’s also worth nothing that if a 20 year old person is drinking in the U.S., they’re hardly ever labeled a ‘criminal’, but rather an underage drinker.  In essence, they’re not an ‘illegal drinker’.

The term ‘illegal’ dehumanizes and marginalizes people.  It should be eradicated from our vocabulary when describing people. No human being can be illegal on their own planet.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s