Wednesday, May 03, 2006


More than one person has told me that undocumented migrants should be called "illegal aliens" because that is what they are.

Well, that may be partly right. I guess it depends on how you actually define alien.

<strong>Webster's Third New International Dictionary defines an alien as:
Belonging or relating to another person or place : stranger. Another part of that defination is: different in nature or character. It goes on: of a foreign character origin: belonging to something else. And finally: repugnant in nature.

So which part of that defination is it? How about the archaic defination? One excluded from certain privileges: one alienated or estranged.
I wonder if the term migrant bothers people because it is less punative? Less exclusive? Less deoragatory? Maybe migrant doesn't cover all the bases? Maybe saying migrant doesn't convey what "everyone knows" about those aliens

Saying alien makes me think of the Sigorne Weaver movie of the same name. It calls to mind something dangerous, repulsive and evil.

Migrant is a term that makes me think of men and women who follow the crops as they grow. Migrants work hard to make a dollar, and they work hard to feed their families. Migrants do menial job and don't intrude into the American lifestyle.
Migrants are non threatening.

Maybe calling migrants aliens makes it easier to think of them as non human? Maybe it makes it easier to fear them? Maybe it makes it easier to blame them? Maybe it makes it easier to hate them?

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