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'Alien' is Alienating for a Reason

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

In an unprecedented move to impose political correctness further into state law, California Governor Jerry Brown removed the term “alien” from the California Labor Code, arguing that the term was offensive and archaic.


The Los Angeles Times reported:

Continuing his push for change on immigration issues, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a trio of measures Monday, including one removing the word "alien" from California’s labor code because it is seen as a derogatory description of those not born in the U.S. or who are not fully naturalized citizens.

Jose Vargas, himself an illegal alien who was duped into considering himself a legal resident, wrote an OpEd in the Los Angeles Times:

“Resident Alien”. Those two words, in all caps, adorn the plastic-covered green card that my grandfather, a naturalized U.S. citizen, handed me shortly after I arrived in the United States from the Philippines. I was 12. I don't remember thinking much about the card (which was not green) or the words (which, strung together, seemed like the title of a video game or a movie). It wasn't until four years later, while applying to get a driver's permit, that I learned the card was fake. I wasn't a "RESIDENT ALIEN" at all but another kind of alien — in common parlance, an "illegal alien."

The label "alien" is nothing but alienating. And when coupled with "illegal," it's especially toxic. The words seep into the psyche, sometimes to the point of paralysis. They're dehumanizing.

Vargas finds the term “alien” alienating. No kidding. Words by their nature are designed to distinguish, to discriminate, or (gasp!) to alienate. His rhetoric could use some revision, too. He goes from “the label” to “the words” and then “they’re dehumanizing.” Is it one word or many words which offend Vargas? By their very existence, words and language distinguish (or alienate?) us from savage cultures and the animal kingdom.


Some LA Times readers concurred in their offense at other people’s offense:

In fact, if you're offended by the word, reader Joseph F. Paggi Jr. of Pasadena is offended that you would take offense. He writes in a letter to the editor published Wednesday: "The word 'alien' is not an insult. This legislation -- an unnecessary and politically correct reinterpretation of a common word -- is an insult to citizens of the United States.

Instead of diminishing words and meanings, we should confront the source of outrage and embrace the truth of words.

“Immigrant” by definition implies the essential element of legality. Why is anyone using terms like “undocumented immigrant” or worse “undocumented citizen.” More people should find the following misuse of the term “immigrant” offensive, when amnesty advocates use the term to describe illegal residents in the United States.

Why offensive? Because the misuse of the word upends the truth and diminishes the dignity of the millions of people who worked hard and did everything required to enter this country legally.

As for those who contend that requiring young people to return to their home countries and wait, or forcing individuals to get in line and go through the proper process to become legal residents, I advise everyone to read over the telling and compelling remarks of US Senator (and also-ran Presidential candidate) Rick Santorum:

My father was born in Italy, and shortly after he was born my grandfather immigrated to this country. And under the laws of this country, he wasn't allowed to be with his father for seven years. I asked my dad after: "Didn't you resent America for not letting you be with your father in those formative and very threatening years?" You know what he said to me? "America was worth the wait." We're a country of laws, not of men, not of people who do whatever they want to do.


Mark Levin said it well: We have dreamers born and naturalized in this country. Don’t their dreams count, too?

One former colleague, a French teacher born in Tunisia, recounted to me the years it took to become a legal resident then a naturalized citizen. Barely a year ago, I remember walking in Torrance, CA and meeting Asmalash, an older gentlemen from Eretria, who was still waiting for his final immigration papers. Still waiting. These individuals demonstrated patience and resolve with a sclerotic bureaucracy. They did not cheat, jump the line, nor undermine the rule of law to become legal residents.

California’s Republican National Committeeman Shawn Steel reminded conservatives that if anyone wants “amnesty,” why not fast-track the legal residents like Asmalash so that they don’t have to wait? They played by the rules, passed all the tests and paid all the fees. For the state of California or the federal government to dismiss the efforts of law-abiding residents and allow a large and growing cohort of illegal aliens to profit from their residence with access to public services and benefits – that is not just alienating, but offensive, unconstitutional, and immoral.

Sadly, California municipalities continue to embrace illegal aliens while alienating the rest of the state. San Francisco’s sanctuary city policy puts lives at risk, and contributed to the tragic, unnecessary murder of Kathyrn Steinle. In an offensive (albeit less overtly dangerous) move, the city council of South East Los Angeles suburb Huntington Park appointed two illegal aliens to two city advisory commissions. City residents (almost entirely Hispanic) objected to this move.


Today, I will be attending the HP City Council’s next meeting to protest their immoral, unlawful, and unconstitutional appointments, along with Urban Game Changers and We the People Rising, a California based activist group exposing – and alienating! – corrupt California politicians who pander to illegals at the expense of everyone else.

“If words lose their meaning, people lose their liberty” - Confucius. Now more than ever, We the People need to hold our representatives accountable, even if it means alienating them over their insistence on corrupting “immigrant” to include illegal aliens.

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