In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 12, 2006 / 14 Nissan, 5766

Illegal immigration and the English language

By Victor Davis Hanson

Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | In the fierce debate over illegal immigration, the particular terms used by those who argue our porous borders are not a serious problem can tell us a lot.

There are somewhere between 8 and 15 million citizens from Mexico and Latin America in the U.S. unlawfully. Those who want cheap labor or relatively unimpeded entry into the U.S. for even more people try to mask the almost inconceivable enormity of the problem through euphemism as well as name-calling of their opponents.

"Undocumented worker," for example, is the politically correct synonym for "illegal alien." It implies that those who have crossed the border without the proper documentation have neither broken the law nor are of any different status than American citizens. But it is an inaccurate term. Not all those who come here illegally are working. And most never had, or even applied for, immigration documents.

In other words, there really are millions here illegally. They are not aliens from another planet, but aliens in the literal sense - simply not lawful residents of this country.

"Guest workers," as well, is an inexact, euphemistic term. After all, invited company is rarely asked to wash their hosts' dishes. "Imported laborer" or "contracted worker" would be more accurate. Far better than "guest worker," such terms convey the commercial nature of the arrangement. Even more precise would be "imported low-wage laborer," to take into account the critical issue of wages. Even the old, crude label bracero - "the arms" - better reflected the reality of low-paid, brutal labor than does "guest worker."

Those who object to fortifying the border like to say that constructing a fence would be akin to putting up a "Berlin Wall." The inaccurate image this conjures is enough to send shivers up our collective spines - as if we are heartless Cold War Stalinists with machine gunners on turrets.

And when it comes to stigmatizing their opponents, those who object to strict border enforcement use the term "anti-immigrant" instead of "anti-illegal immigrant." Most Americans do not object to the millions who come here lawfully. So those who see benefits in illegal immigration try to blur the line between illegal and legal. Also, note that "anti-immigrant" is preferable to "anti-immigration," because the former personalizes the issue - as if their opponents are hostile to individuals rather than to the flawed policies that brought them here.

Indeed, at their worse, those who deny the serious problems of illegal immigration employ words like "nativist" to describe their opponents, thus characterizing them as xenophobes rather than people interested in upholding the law. "Nativist," however, is an empty charge, since there are more illegal and legal immigrants here (some 30 million, or almost 10 percent of our present population) than at any time in U.S. history.

The even harsher word "racist" is also sometimes evoked in the debate. A purported "white America" secretly fears a "brown invasion." But worry over losing control of our borders troubles Americans of all races, including millions of Hispanic-Americans. Most African-Americans and Asian-Americans oppose illegal immigration for a variety of reasons - from the driving down of wages of lower-paid American workers to the allowing of Mexican citizens to cut ahead in the immigration line.

No doubt were there 1,000 Chinese illegal aliens arriving in boats each day on the coast of California, many of our present protestors would be calling on the Coast Guard to protect our shores.

The most peculiar term used by some Hispanic extremists is "La Raza," meaning "The Race." It alone in the debate really is linguistically a racialist term that identifies a particular group not by its origin, language or religion but by its supposed racial exceptionalism. That there is still an organization called the National Council of La Raza is surreal in our pluralistic society.

What explains these distortions in language? Simple - politics. Those who tolerate de facto uncontrolled borders employ fuzzy adjectives such as "guest" and "undocumented" that do not accurately describe the millions of aliens illegally in the United States, a fact opposed by the vast majority of Americans.

By the same token, these who raise legitimate concerns are reduced to "nativists" or "racists" to preclude a fair hearing of their often persuasive arguments. Change the language, and political change may follow.

It is time that open-border advocates use honest vocabulary and discuss the problem as a legal issue apart from race. When illegal alien protestors wave the flag of Mexico, or dictate proper policy to their hosts, the debate is Orwellian enough without distorting the English language as well.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and military historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. Comment by clicking here.


© 2006, TMS