Justice Sonia Sotomayor Uses Legal Term ‘Illegal Alien’ in SCOTUS Hearing

Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor poses in the official group photo at the US Supreme Cour
MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) Justice Sonia Sotomayor repeatedly used the legal term “illegal alien” to describe foreign nationals unlawfully residing in the U.S. during hearings, despite repeated claims by liberals that the term is racist and xenophobic.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Trump v. New York where President Donald Trump is seeking to exclude illegal aliens from congressional apportionment counts that decide how many lawmakers represent each state in Congress.

In multiple instances, Justice Sotomayor — the court’s most liberal justice — used the legal term “illegal alien” to describe foreign nationals residing unlawfully in the U.S. The term was codified into federal statute in 1986 by the Immigration Reform and Control Act and the term “alien” regularly refers to noncitizens or non-U.S. nationals in federal law.

Left-wing activists and elected Democrats have sought to stop the use of the term, opting instead for terms such as “undocumented immigrants,” “undocumented people,” and “undocumented workers.”

The term “undocumented” to describe illegal aliens, though, incorrectly assumes that all illegal aliens are undetected by the federal government. On the contrary, there are a number of categories of illegal aliens who have been documented as entering the U.S. and not leaving, such as visa overstays or recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Today, there are an estimated 11 to 22 million illegal aliens living in the U.S. Until Trump’s order to halt the counting of illegal aliens in congressional apportionment, illegal aliens have been counted in apportionment counts and likely provided blue states with large illegal populations with more congressional representation than red states with small illegal populations.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder


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