Is “Illegal” a dirty word?


From the "Do I look illegal?" campaign.

I’ve seen several tweets today regarding the term “illegal immigrant”. Apparently, so did Nicole at PostBourgie:

In my little (and decidedly liberal) corner of the blogosphere, it has now become inappropriate to use the word “illegal” when referring to immigrants…

“Undocumented”, “unauthorized”, “without papers” — aren’t those all just other ways of saying illegal? Is it just the use of the word “illegals”? Or is it “illegal immigrant” as well?

For the record, I don’t like the term “illegals.” If you’re going to call people “illegals”, let’s be fair and apply it to everyone who has ever done anything illegal. That would include me, you, Lou Dobbs, jaywalkers, underage drinkers, and almost everyone I know over the age of 10.

But “illegal immigrant”? The simple fact is that if one immigrates without a visa, or stays after the visa expires, that is illegal. I’m not saying there aren’t justifiable reasons for doing so, but that doesn’t make it any less against the law.