Document Type


Publication Date



Regretfully, the debate over immigration reform has been fueled and railroaded by rhetoric that is counter-productive, divisive, and dangerous . It is one thingfor people who are not knowledgeable of the law and its history to use the pejorative terms “illegal alien” and “illegal immigrant;” however, it should become unacceptable for government officials and judges to use labels like “illegal alien” and “illegal immigrant.” When placed in the historical and current context of the United States, these terms carry racial animus. They have developed to attach an identity as inferior human beings to a group of people who are not wanted in the United States, including citizens and noncitizens. The term “ illegal ” has also become code language for Latinos. If government officials and judges will not do the right thing and stop using such pejorative terms, the people, especially lawyers, must challenge their use.