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Question of the day

Thursday, Apr 28, 2016

* Press release…

Today, Senator Martin Sandoval, a leading champion of immigrant rights in the Illinois Senate, was joined by 9th graders at Solorio Academy High School in Gage Park, Chicago, home of the 3rd highest number of undocumented immigrants (nearly 11,000) in Illinois, on calling on the Illinois General Assembly to pass SB3021 and send it to Governor Rauner’s desk. SB3021 replaces the term “alien” from Illinois State statutes, as a definition for an undocumented immigrant.

The students started a campaign to rid the state’s vocabulary of the words “alien” and “illegal alien” which are often used to describe undocumented immigrants. The state of California recently took action to eliminate this word. It is the hope of the students that their efforts would result in Illinois following suit and called upon Senator Sandoval to champion this initiative vital to the dignity of their community. […]

A 2013 Pew Research Center survey showed that media organizations have shifted greatly away from using the phrase “illegal alien” to refer to people living in the United States without documentation. During comparable two-week news cycles in 2007 and 2013, use of the phrase in news stories dropped from 21 percent of the time to 5 percent of the time, according to the survey.

“All workers, documented or undocumented, pay taxes and do their fair share, so there is no such thing as an “Illegal” person,” said Delila Lopez, 9th grader at Solorio Academy High School.

Meanwhile, perception that undocumented immigrants “strengthen the country” has steadily been on the rise among all adults since 2010, according to a 2015 Pew Research Center survey. Seventy-two percent of those surveyed said they think undocumented immigrants should be allowed to remain in the U.S., barring they meet certain requirements.

“The word “alien” is really offensive. It’s not just rude but it dehumanizes undocumented people, and that’s not right,” said Uriel Hernandez, 9th grader at Solorio Academy High School.

* The Question: Should the term “alien” be removed from state statutes when it’s used as a definition for an undocumented immigrant? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.


survey services

- Posted by Rich Miller        


42 Comments
  1. - Huh? - Thursday, Apr 28, 16 @ 1:02 pm:

    No. It is a perfectly legitimate word to describe somebody from another country.

    My New American Heritage Dictionary defines “Alien” as 1. Owing political allegiance to another country or government; foreign. 2. Belonging to, characteristic of, or derived from another country, place, society or person; strange.


  2. - Mama - Thursday, Apr 28, 16 @ 1:03 pm:

    I said ‘yes’ for this reason:
    “The word “alien” is really offensive. It’s not just rude but it dehumanizes undocumented people, and that’s not right,”


  3. - Ratso Rizzo - Thursday, Apr 28, 16 @ 1:10 pm:

    I have no problem changing the word “alien” to “immigrant”, but they are still here “illegally” if not on a valid, current visa, have some other form of naturalization paperwork, or possess work-status documentation. Let’s call a rose a rose.


  4. - Ron Burgundy - Thursday, Apr 28, 16 @ 1:15 pm:

    Rather than focus on changing semantics, why not seek to assimilate and take steps to obtain proper documentation? If a person does that, they don’t have to worry about being personally offended by the term because it doesn’t apply to them.


  5. - Bogey Golfer - Thursday, Apr 28, 16 @ 1:16 pm:

    Per the Merriam-Webster dictionary: Alien - a foreign-born resident who has not been naturalized and is still a subject or citizen of a foreign country.
    The above applies whether the person is legal or illegal. Voted ‘no’.


  6. - AC - Thursday, Apr 28, 16 @ 1:16 pm:

    Voted No. I support a path to citizenship and immigration reform, but I also recognize efforts like this give ammunition to the crowd that fixates on what they view as political correctness. Alien is a term with a well established legal meaning, and I’ve heard “undocumented immigant” used sarcastically as a pejorative as well. Where government records need to be purged of racist language is in the deed office where property commonly has covenants that enforced segregation attached to the deed and still on file. Often, no one bothered to ammend these racist covenants because the Supreme Court rendered them invalid, but they’re still there, and they use far less sensitive terms than alien.


  7. - Southwest.Man - Thursday, Apr 28, 16 @ 1:23 pm:

    Yes, the people to whom it refers find it offensive. What good reason is there to keep it? One side has zero attachment to the word and the other side finds it offensive. Simple solution.


  8. - Enlightened - Thursday, Apr 28, 16 @ 1:25 pm:

    The word “alien” is only mentioned once in statute; this is a fairly non-controversial bill.

    Rep. Tabares filed HB 5945, which is identical to SB 3021. HB 5945 already passed the House by a large margin 098-011-000.

    http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/BillStatus.asp?DocTypeID=HB&DocNum=5945&GAID=13&SessionID=88&LegID=95435


  9. - Dome Gnome - Thursday, Apr 28, 16 @ 1:26 pm:

    Yes, the terms are archaic and should have been removed years ago.


  10. - Smitty Irving - Thursday, Apr 28, 16 @ 1:30 pm:

    Voted no. The term is in the US Code and it’s usage goes back to the found of the Republic.


  11. - Not quite a majority - Thursday, Apr 28, 16 @ 1:31 pm:

    voted yes for many of the reasons listed above and because the term is as derogatory as other terms that we have since removed from statutes. I won’t go into names, most people will know what ones I’m talking about.


  12. - Shanks - Thursday, Apr 28, 16 @ 1:32 pm:

    I don’t car what it’s called. Illegal aliens I never thought as offensive, just that a person came to this country illegally. Just another round of the polltically sensitivity police finding just another thing to get offended at.


  13. - @MisterJayEm - Thursday, Apr 28, 16 @ 1:35 pm:

    Should the term “alien” be removed from Illinois State statutes when it’s used as a definition for an undocumented immigrant?

    I voted yes.

    Like “alien”, “bastard” is also a perfectly legitimate word.

    The hallowed Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as “an illegitimate child”. For centuries, the word was routinely used in family law and intestacy statutes and proceedings. But we have since abandoned the use of that word because we have had the good sense to recognize that it is stigmatizing and unnecessarily offensive.

    The same applies to “alien”.

    – MrJM

    p.s. And yes, the pun was intentional.


  14. - Natural Born Citizen - Thursday, Apr 28, 16 @ 1:41 pm:

    Yes, the term is archaic and dehumanizing. Undocumented immigrants are human beings.


  15. - Blue dog dem - Thursday, Apr 28, 16 @ 1:42 pm:

    Build the wall.build the wall. Build the wall.

    And who’s going to pay for that wall?

    The dirty scoundrels who moved Oreo production.


  16. - atsuishin - Thursday, Apr 28, 16 @ 1:42 pm:

    No its a placebo for the masses and an effort for sandavol to get attention.

    We need a more liberalized immigration policy to go hand and hand with our current free trade policy to revitalize declining south and westside neighborhoods.


  17. - wordslinger - Thursday, Apr 28, 16 @ 1:42 pm:

    Yes. My parents came here from Norway, not Mars.


  18. - Just Sayin' - Thursday, Apr 28, 16 @ 1:47 pm:

    Voted no. It is a common legal term used both for persons and companies foreign to Illinois. In fact it us used much more in relations to companies than individuals. It has not been used to dehumanize (e.g. aliens from outer space); rather it is derived from “alienus” which means stranger in Latin.


  19. - Mr. 17.5 - Thursday, Apr 28, 16 @ 1:47 pm:

    I voted Yes, but that would be contingent on an amendment to clarify the difference between Illegal immigrant and an alien from outer space.

    //I need to stop falling asleep watching ancient aliens.


  20. - @MisterJayEm - Thursday, Apr 28, 16 @ 1:49 pm:

    [Carefully writes “Not Martian” in his notebook labeled “Clues to Wordslinger’s Identity”]


  21. - Mr. 17.5 - Thursday, Apr 28, 16 @ 1:54 pm:

    - @MisterJayEm wins the day, bravo


  22. - Just Sayin' - Thursday, Apr 28, 16 @ 1:55 pm:

    Do people here really think “alien companies” as used dozens of times in the statutes (more than alien as a non-resident appears) implies “companies from outer space”? No, alien means foreign, just as it always has.


  23. - kayc - Thursday, Apr 28, 16 @ 1:55 pm:

    absolutely not - check your dictionaries - “a foreign born resident who has not been naturalized and is still a subject-citizen of a foreign country” - what in the world is wrong with that?


  24. - wordslinger - Thursday, Apr 28, 16 @ 1:56 pm:

    –“The word “alien” is really offensive. It’s not just rude but it dehumanizes undocumented people, and that’s not right,”–

    Bless you.


  25. - downstate commissioner - Thursday, Apr 28, 16 @ 1:59 pm:

    At this point, pretty much of a tie vote, so I didn’t because it really doesn’t mean much to me. If pushed, I would probably vote “no” just because changing it in IL wouldn’t have any affect on the federal wording. Didn’t realize that it was a degrading term like (take your choice); it was just a legal term. I do admit though, that when I hear the word alien, my first thought is of other planets….


  26. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Apr 28, 16 @ 2:05 pm:

    ===It has not been used to dehumanize===

    lol


  27. - Saluki - Thursday, Apr 28, 16 @ 2:09 pm:

    Leave it as it is.


  28. - Anonymous - Thursday, Apr 28, 16 @ 2:10 pm:

    No. Where will the word police end? What’s next? Soon no one will ever want to speak. There’s something wrong with everything people say, apparently.


  29. - In 630 - Thursday, Apr 28, 16 @ 2:11 pm:

    Voted yes. Words have connotations, not just definitions.


  30. - Politix - Thursday, Apr 28, 16 @ 2:32 pm:

    Yes, it’s outdated and hurtful, as many words come to be over time.


  31. - Anonymous - Thursday, Apr 28, 16 @ 2:34 pm:

    Cook county the no deportation county!


  32. - allknowingmasterofracoondom - Thursday, Apr 28, 16 @ 2:42 pm:

    =“All workers, documented or undocumented, pay taxes and do their fair share, so there is no such thing as an “Illegal” person,” said Delila Lopez, 9th grader at Solorio Academy High School.=

    That is coming from a 9th grader, and it is scary.


  33. - Really? - Thursday, Apr 28, 16 @ 2:44 pm:

    No. People have become overly sensitive to EVERYTHING. Are we really raising our children to be so offended by everything? Jeez. Everything is racist, unfair, offensive and unjust now. It’s like stepping on eggshells with every word on social media. It’s ridiculous.


  34. - WhoKnew - Thursday, Apr 28, 16 @ 2:45 pm:

    Voted No!
    But @MisterJayEm, you swayed me.

    Well said.


  35. - Ron Burgundy - Thursday, Apr 28, 16 @ 2:56 pm:

    I guess upon further review I am not so much against changing the term on the books, but remain concerned about the apparent effort to remove any negative connotations or consequences from being in this country in violation of its laws. I support a liberalization of immigration and a path to citizenship, but at the same time would require people to accept that path and move along it, or face deportation. I’m concerned that removing any and all negative consequences and connotations from being here illegally will remove any incentive for people to get “legal.”


  36. - IllinoisBoi - Thursday, Apr 28, 16 @ 3:27 pm:

    I think laws giving immigrants a fair and straightforward legal path to obtain citizenship are far more urgently needed then changes of terminology.


  37. - Just Observing - Thursday, Apr 28, 16 @ 3:59 pm:

    I didn’t vote as I don’t know or care enough about the definition of the word. But what is clear is that, for better or for worse, this is an attempt by activists to assign a term to illegal residents that sounds more palatable — an attempt to further legitimize illegals in this country.


  38. - Wensicia - Thursday, Apr 28, 16 @ 4:00 pm:

    We don’t call immigrants here with some form of permission aliens; we save that for illegals only. Aren’t they aliens too? They fit the definition.

    The hypocrisy is obvious. It’s become a derogatory term used by those who want all illegals exported, kicked out. Voted yes.


  39. - lake county democrat - Thursday, Apr 28, 16 @ 4:01 pm:

    I voted “yes” BUT

    “undocumented” is a propaganda term proposed by those supporting illegal immigrants (or “unauthorized immigrant” if you can’t handle “illegal”) in a charged debate. Journalists should have rejected it. “Undocumented” is utterly non-descriptive and once you explain what it means, it implies it’s the government’s fault for somehow “documenting” them properly.


  40. - Cassandra - Thursday, Apr 28, 16 @ 4:03 pm:

    OK with me if it makes folks feel better.

    But it’s a sideshow, a tiny one. Immigration is developing into one of the most nettlesome issues of our time. When war and climate change, failed governance (as in Syria and Honduras), rising seas (in low-lying nations and many global cities) require millions, even hundred of millions, of people to move to survive, where are they gonna go? As a world, we haven’t worked that out yet.


  41. - AlfondoGonz - Thursday, Apr 28, 16 @ 4:19 pm:

    Voted “No.” The time, money, and resources required to make a change that is, when it comes down to it, completely superficial is just not worth it.

    I mean, even if the change occurred, how long would it be until “immigrant” is considered offense?

    [Note: I say that in no way minimalizing the offense people take at the labels bestowed upon them. I say it moreso as an acknowledgement that labels with negative connotations are eventually resented}


  42. - Tone - Thursday, Apr 28, 16 @ 4:25 pm:

    “- Cassandra - Thursday, Apr 28, 16 @ 4:03 pm:

    OK with me if it makes folks feel better.

    But it’s a sideshow, a tiny one. Immigration is developing into one of the most nettlesome issues of our time. When war and climate change, failed governance (as in Syria and Honduras), rising seas (in low-lying nations and many global cities) require millions, even hundred of millions, of people to move to survive, where are they gonna go? As a world, we haven’t worked that out yet.”

    The US has so much vacant land it is mind boggling. Some may have to give up some acreage. They’ll survive. Trust me.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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