Carolyn Salazar reports, March 8, 2012:
How people feel about illegal immigration is often conveyed by the word they choose to refer to people who cross the border illegally.
To some, they are undocumented workers. Others call them illegal immigrants. Some call them by more pejorative terms, such as “illegals” or “illegal aliens.”
Beyond policy disagreements, the semantics of immigration –and specifically the word used in describing the millions of foreigners who have overstayed their visas or have entered the country illegally– has become one of the most sensitive and inflammatory aspects of the immigration debate.
A national Fox News Latino poll of likely Latino voters conducted under the direction of Latin Insights and released Monday shows almost half of respondents, or 46 percent, say the term “illegal immigrant” is offensive, while only a little over a third, or 35 percent, think the term is accurate. About 7 percent are neutral about the term.
“Calling people illegal or an illegal immigrant has become normalized even though it’s a term that’s inaccurate, it’s dehumanizing and it’s politically charged,” said Mónica Novoa, coordinator of the Drop the I-Word public campaign. “It’s anti-immigrant, anti-Latino language that’s harmful.” Read more …