UCLA’s undergraduate student government passed a resolution unanimously last week to criticize any use of the term “illegal immigrant” to describe illegal immigrants. Many students are upset with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, whom they feel is too harsh on illegal immigration. The resolution, entitled “Drop the I-Word,” stated:
“[W]e are aware that certain racially derogatory language used in media, political discourse and other institutional settings has historically bolstered the foundation for racially harmful actions, including racial profiling practices, punitive policies targeting socially marginalized groups, hate crimes and violence …the use of the term illegals (the ‘I-word’) and its derivatives when referring to people dehumanizes and divides communities, contributing to punitive and discriminatory actions aimed primarily at immigrants and communities of color…undocumented students at UCLA and across the UC have expressed their concerns and fear with the recent appointment of Janet Napolitano, former US Secretary of Homeland Security, as the new University of California President…”
How exactly the term “illegal immigrant” is “racially derogatory” is not explained in the resolution, given the fact that a huge minority of illegal immigrants have merely overstayed their visas, and that illegal immigrants come from a huge variety of countries. It is also unclear how “illegal immigrant” being utilized creates the impetus for violence and hate crimes.
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the New York Times bestseller “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013).