Define American's misleading campaign against the term "illegal immigrant"

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The pro-illegal immigration group Define American is beginning a campaign to monitor the media for uses of the term "illegal immigrant".

Instead of using "illegal immigrant" - or the more accurate "illegal alien" - they want the media to use the misleading euphemism "undocumented immigrant".

If you aren't familiar with the correct term to use, see immigration terminology. That lists the problems with alternatives and also has evidence supporting "illegal alien" as the legally-correct term.

Define American's campaign is an intentional attempt to mislead, and is based on misleading premises as will be discussed below.

None of this should be very surprising: Define American is run by Jose Vargas, a journalist who "came out" as an illegal alien not long ago. The establishment - which supports illegal immigration for various reasons - has since trotted him out to (as they say) put a human face on the issue. Vargas has responded by showing that he's a complete lightweight.

For instance, Vargas tells Ted Hesson of ABC News ([1], ):

"The term [illegal immigrant] dehumanizes and marginalizes the people it seeks to describe... Think of it this way, in what other context do we call someone illegal?"

Now, for a list of some of those ways, see the immigration terminology page. Calling someone, for instance, an "illegal racer" doesn't "dehumanize and marginalize" them, it just points out that the racing they engaged in was illegal. To look at it another way, calling them an "undocumented racer" would confuse people as to what exactly the problem with their racing is. When it comes to immigration, that's exactly Vargas' point: to confuse as many people as possible.

To drive home just how lightweight Vargas is, the article contains this:

Vargas, who came to the U.S. from the Philippines when he was 12, cited the examples of underage drivers and people driving while intoxicated, neither of whom would be referred to as "illegal drivers" by the media.

Wouldn't you know it, there are over 41,000 search results for the term "illegal driver". Some uses of that term refer to other things, but just from the first page of results:

* "Port Phillip cops target illegal drivers" (9/10/12, link)

* "Fresno DUI checkpoints net variety of illegal drivers" (7/30/12, link)

* "Florida police pose as giant bunnies to catch illegal drivers" (3/29/12, link)

* "Letter: Stronger laws needed for illegal drivers" (9/18/12, link)

But, wait, there's even more. Vargas says:

"Ironically, describing an immigrant as 'illegal' is legally inaccurate... Being in a country without proper documents is a civil offense, not a criminal one."

That too is misleading. While mere presence in the U.S. as an illegal alien is usually not a criminal offense, it's still illegal. For instance, parking in a red zone is usually not a criminal offense, but it's still illegal. That's why people get tickets for parking in red zones: because there's a law against it.

Vargas is starting his campaign against the New York Times and the Associated Press. As even a quick glance at those links will show, both are strong supporters of illegal immigration already. If they bow to his pressure, both sources will be even less credible than they are now.

If you'd like to do something about this:
* Contact @JoseIsWriting and @DefineAmerican with your thoughts

* Even better, send the immigration terminology link or this page to those who retweet or otherwise promote either of those accounts. The goal is to undercut Vargas to his audience. (You can find RTs by doing a search for either of their names).

* When you catch a reporter using euphemisms, do the same: contact them, and contact those in their sphere letting them know that reporter isn't credible.

[1] Per his Twitter bio, "Ted Hesson is the online editor of Long Island Wins, where he reports and edits news, culture, business, and policy pieces related to immigration." In other words, he's an advocate and not an unbiased reporter. Yet, here we have him writing news articles for ABC News.