President Obama’s usage of the term “illegal immigrants” is more than just semantics

LatinaLista — Whoever created the phrase “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” was just plain dishonest.

Obama delivers his push for healthcare reform to a joint session of Congress.
No matter how many times we were taught to let insults “roll off our backs” the truth of the matter is words do hurt, and what we’ve learned in our current polarizing political climate, is that they can carry a bigger punch than any physical fist-clenched hit.
Knowing that words matter, and some more than others, it was disappointing to hear President Obama repeatedly use the term “illegal immigrant” in his recent healthcare speech to the joint session of Congress.
In the past, he has referred to this population by its more accurate description of “undocumented immigrants” and so the prevailing thought among immigrant advocates is that the President’s use of the term was a subtle political olive branch to those like “Joe the Congressional Heckler” Wilson.
Yet, as we now know, the usage of the term didn’t appease anyone but merely added to the antagonism already felt by some in the room — not to mention that it elevated a term regarded by many as hate speech as now having White House approval.


For many in the media and politics, the term “illegal immigrant” has become shorthand for the longer more cumbersome “undocumented immigrant.” The shorter version definitely rolls off the tongue more quickly, fits more neatly into space-cramped headlines – whether online or in print – and the assumption is that it embodies concisely what the speaker is trying to describe – immigrants who are here illegally.
But that really isn’t the case.
The two words — “illegal” and “immigrant” when thrown together as such create the impression that immigrants are illegal. They are not. They may be undocumented and living here illegally but they themselves are not illegal humans.
The notion that any human is illegal would be laughable if it were not for the fact that there has been a long sad history in this country, and other countries, where certain groups perceiving themselves to be elite have looked down on people of color or who were different from themselves, and for all practical purposes, considered those people to be illegal in terms of being able to claim full rights afforded to all humans.
To the casual bystander witnessing/reporting on the illegal immigration debate, the term “illegal immigrant” seems like an innocent way to describe this demographic. Plus, it saves reporters, writers, politicians and speakers from having to explain whom they are talking about.
Everybody knows who an “illegal immigrant” is referring to.
A couple of years ago, I had used the term in one of my posts and I was immediately scolded by some of my fellow bloggers in the Latino blogosphere. I had used it because it fit all the criteria I had previously mentioned — it was convenient, short and evoked an immediate understanding from the reader, plus all my colleagues in mainstream media were using it.
Yet, I failed to realize one thing — that was rightly pointed out by my blogosphere friends — the use of it only perpetuates the condoning of a term that goes beyond two simple words.
The term has been effectively adopted as the rallying cry for hate groups who see undocumented immigrants as the first wave of some imaginary Hispanic takeover of the country.
The term, as it’s now used, goes beyond describing the legal status of a group of people but is used to insinuate a diabolical lawlessness in this group that just isn’t true and who are only guilty of letting visas expire or crossing the border illegally which are not felonies and far from heinous crimes.
The term has become synonymous with justifying racial profiling and citizen assaults by dehumanizing the individual and giving the impression that anyone who has this label attached to them isn’t worthy of basic human rights or constitutional considerations.
It is far from an innocent phrase used to describe a group of people.
The National Association of Hispanic Journalists even issued a call to all news media to stop using the term and other such terms that are meant to only incite hatred and are grammatically incorrect to boot.
Unfortunately, as we know most mainstream journalists still prefer the term “illegal immigrant.” Yet, what’s worse is that there are some Latina/o journalists still using the derogatory term as well, even as they defend the undocumented.
For President Obama to reverse his previous course and use a term that dehumanizes a group of people characterized as being Latino in origin does not advance the cause of reforming healthcare or immigration policies.
Rather it reinforces and validates the idea that these people are “illegal humans.”
It is only a matter of time before this term will join the ranks of every other embarrassing derogatory term used in our nation’s history to villify, demean and shame a particular group of people.
But it’s become increasingly clear — we can’t wait for history to make that judgement call.

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45 Comments

  1. Efrén Paredes, Jr. said:

    Very well stated. Members of the media and public should cease using the derogatory terms “illegal immigrants” or “illegal aliens.” It polarizes the community, is outright disrespectful, and fosters hatred towards our fellow human beings. People using these terms speak volumes about themselves. It is time to end the use of this immoral term.

  2. cookie said:

    Actually, Obama toned it down by using the term “illegal immigrants”. They are actually illegal aliens! Of course your side will claim it means those from outer space when clearly used in that context it simply means foreigner.
    This is just another attempt to soften the illegal actions of border invaders. Do you pro-amnesty people really think that this lends credibility to your side when you use those kinds of dishonest tactics?
    No way does anyone think the terms illegal immigrant or alien implies that they are illegal as human beings on this earth. Your side is really getting desperate, aren’t you? Everyone knows what the correct terms mean and they simply mean migrating to our country illegally according to our immigration laws. Stop the rhetoric and dishonesty!
    It has nothing to do with skin color or race either because illegal aliens come in all skin colors and races another dishonest statement implying that the proper terms have a racial undertone to them.
    What a stretch to claim that accurate descriptive terms incite hate or racial profiling. So calling a child molester a pedophile incites hate? If most pedophiles were white does that encourage racial profiling? You are way out in left field on this one, Marisa.

  3. Texan123 said:

    I prefer the term illegal alien. It is the official government term given to all who are in the country without LEGAL immigration status. They choose to remain aliens by refusing to learn English and therfore, set themselves apart from English speaking Americans.
    Being in the U.S. illegally also means you must committ FRAUD to get a job. You may drive without a license or insurance. You may become a burden to taxpayers by having kids out of wedlock, repeatedly, to access welfare benefits. You may lie on applications for food stamps or free school lunch programs about how many working people are in the household. You may lie about how much you make to the IRS.
    There are many reasons Americans do not like illegal aliens. The fact that most of them are Latino has little to do with it.
    This is not to say that Americans of all colors and origins do not cheat too. It just makes it worse when millions of people who have no right to be here have learned to game the system by being dishonest.

  4. maryelizabeth said:

    Unfortunatly, sadly spoken when Immigration Reform becomes full blown and hits the platform we are going to see the “Undocumented” addressed in a negative way. Americans have been ridiculously programed with the term “Illegal” by racist groups like ALIPAC and FAIR. It is this term that they identify with. I believe that the bill will pass only if the President can prove to the public that reform is essential to save money by all people being documented and paying into the system. Many Americans are brainwashed to believe that the “Undocumented” do not pay into the system. Truthfully, the majority of the “Undocumented” pay into the system to find themselves never getting any of that money back. Our current Immigration system has been broken up to 25 years now…leaving many of the “undocumented” unable to invest into a pension or retirement plan. The dreamers need the dreamact to pass because they will need to utilize there education to take care of their parents when they are old and no longer able to take care of themselves and work anymore. Americans only find an issue important when they truly believe it effects them. If Americans are told that Reform is needed to make sure that all people are paying into the system they will favor the bill. Americans vote straight out of their wallet.

  5. Liquidmicro said:

    I say we instead use the terms “Entry Violators” and “Visa Violators”.

  6. Grandma said:

    I just don’t understand why you have such a problem with the correct term “illegal alien”. Illegal is just that illegal, against the law. And alien is just that, a foreigner in another country. Just because you and others seem to think “undocumented” is a better term, it is still a crime to be in this country illegally. And not all illegal aliens are just undocumented. There are millions who have been convicted of felonies. So what do you want to call them?

  7. the deportee's wife said:

    Asa the wife of a man who was once undocumented in the United States, thank you for making it clear that the term “illegal immigrant” IS more than “just semantics.”

  8. Evelyn said:

    Wow, so now the anchor babies of the original European illegal invaders who whitewash their history by calling their ancestors “immigrants” want for everyone to call today’s immigrants Illegal Aliens.
    That just reeks of racism and hypocrisy. I think they need to be told where they can go.
    Grandma suggested “There are millions who have been convicted of felonies. So what do you want to call them?”
    E
    I couldent find that link and would appreciate you sharing it with us Grandma.
    I do have the link to prove that millions of indigenous people were murdered by European illegal invaders, which I believe is one of the worst felonys one can commit.
    Yet these felons are called pilgrems and immigrants to this day, so I suggest we follow the constitution and it’s laws of equality and call today’s immigrants, “immigrants” just like the European invaders.

  9. Mike said:

    Real debate and understanding will never be possible until we can respect one another and our differing viewpoints. It doesn’t matter what side of the aisle we happen to fall on or what words we use to express ourselves. It doesn’t matter how much we agree or disagree with another person’s perspective, addressing it with anger and hatred will never bring a resolution. I don’t personally care for the term illegal immigrant, but if you can use it without losing sight of the fact that you and the person on the other side of that term are equal human beings, then you’re moving in the right direction. Something to think about…

  10. Fake Name said:

    The term “undocumented” is inaccurate as it does not cover the thousands of aliens who have entered without inspection but whose presence is known to immigration authorities and are therefore “documented.” I think the term “unauthorized immigrants” is more appropriate, although “immigrant” is a term of art in US immigration law, so “unauthorized aliens” might be the most accurate alternative.

  11. Grandma said:

    Evelyn said:
    Grandma suggested “There are millions who have been convicted of felonies. So what do you want to call them?”
    E
    I couldent find that link and would appreciate you sharing it with us Grandma.
    There is no link that you would be able to access. You have to have a pacer account to get into the USDC court site that gives that information such as complaints, sentencings, judgments, etc. You are free to go to any USDC court site and sign up for a pacer account but you have to pay for it.

  12. irma said:

    Grandma suggested “There are millions who have been convicted of felonies. So what do you want to call them?”
    I found this from ABC news June 6, 2008
    US prison population hits all time high:
    2.3 million incarcerated.
    35.4% were black males
    32.9% were white males
    17.9 % were Hispanic males
    From this I conclude that if you assume all the black and white male inmates were US citizens, then 68.% of the US male population is male and NOT Hispanic. Grandma, you are inaccurate in suggesting that MILLIONs
    of undocumented Hispanics have been convicted of felonies. If they were they would be in jail, which apparently they are NOT. Even if you assume that ALL those Hispanic males in jail are undocumented, their numbers do not approach millions.
    It would appear that MOST felonies in the US are committed by white or black US male citizens.

  13. Thoughtful said:

    Thank you for writing this. I agree with your sentiment that the words that are used are more than just semantics.I am certain that our future generation will reflect on these words and see how they are laced with ignorance and hate. As you can recall there was a day when “retarded” and “bastard” were considered legal terms of art. However, as time has progresses people have become more aware and changed their vocabulary. I hope that change comes soon!

  14. Beryl Walker said:

    Although I understand and empathize with the sentiments expressed in this article, I don’t agree with it.
    The President correctly identified the undocumented residents for two reasons.
    1. The rule of law can be followed: Innocent until PROVEN guilty. Similarly, legal until proven illegal. Nothing in the bill changes the way health care is handled with residents. Any resident (documented or not) can receive urgent or immunization care without proving their legal status.
    2. The new bill will not create new law but will ensure that no NEW services (e.g. insurance exchange) will be made available for those residing here illegally. Section 246: “Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States.”
    This is why Wilson and others wanted to add more language to the HR 3200 to ensure that undocumented workers do not receive any health care. The Democrats rightly see Immigration Reform and Health Care Reform as separate issues and refused to complicate a Health Care bill with new provisions which cannot be properly sorted out in a timely manner.
    Although the “illegal immigrant” reference is dehumanizing, it is appropriate so that we can ensure that health care reform can progress.

  15. cookie said:

    I fail to see that using the terms illegal immigrant or illegal alien is dehumanizing any more than using the term bank robber for someone who has robbed a bank.

  16. irma said:

    The use of the term “illegal immigrant” in the health care reform debate is INAPPROPRIATE. There is no need to include language EXCLUDING coverage for individuals who are not legal residents,
    the bill need only specify that the coverage is only FOR legal residents.
    The language that Wilson and other want to add to HR 3200 is simply hatemongering and serves NO useful purpose and adds NOTHING towards health care reform.

  17. Aaron said:

    “I think the term “unauthorized immigrants” is more appropriate,”
    No, the term unauthorized immigrants is also incorrect.
    When talking in the legal sense; in terminology used by our Code of Federal Regulations, and that is what were arguing here, these people aren’t recognized as immigrants at all, anymore than foreign visitors on a week’s stay at Yellowstone Park. Such people are recognized as visitors, not immigrants. Unless one enters by the front door, one hasn’t earned the right or dignity of the use of the term immigrant. Illegal alien is the appropriate term, in all cases, including overstay or illegal entry.

  18. cookie said:

    All the Republicans were asking for from Obama and the rest of the Democrats supporting his bill is to close the loophole that would not have made it mandatory for the insurance to screen applicants for citizenship status in this country. Words mean nothing without enforcement behind it.
    I am now satisfied with that part of the healthcare reform bill and I would imagine that many other Americans are more satisfied also. Those in here who supported the bill from the get go should also be happy that this will help the bill move forward now but somehow I doubt it because one can read an alternate agenda from many in here.

  19. irma said:

    I reiterate, why include any reference to
    people who are in the US without the proper authorization (visitor, worker or resident) in HR 3200. These individuals can be excluded from the bill simply by stating that the bill is FOR legal residents.
    Introducing language to exclude a particular group is not necessary and in this case serves only to create ill will.

  20. Che said:

    “so I suggest we follow the constitution and it’s laws of equality and call today’s immigrants, “immigrants”
    -when will you understand that there are two types of immigrants:
    1)went through the process to enter the country LEGALLY.
    2)did not got through the process (any legal process) to cross into America.
    For the life of me anybody that doesn’t differentiate the terms is just in denial.
    Illegal alien is a proper term used by the Federal government. It sounds derogatory due to the negative connotation the ILLEGAL (not legal) immigration debate is perceived as…. but nonetheless a proper term.

  21. Candy said:

    “Introducing language to exclude a particular group is not necessary and in this case serves only to create ill will.”
    That’s true, but it is the illegal aliens that have caused the ill will that’s shown toward them. And why should illegal aliens feelings be considered when the crime has been committed against the citizens by violation of their laws? They didn’t seem to have any consideration for the American people’s feelings when they crossed the border illegally. Yes, there is ill will, but is a righteous ill will on the part of the people of this country.

  22. Evelyn said:

    Che :
    “so I suggest we follow the constitution and it’s laws of equality and call today’s immigrants, “immigrants”
    -when will you understand that there are two types of immigrants:
    1)went through the process to enter the country LEGALLY.
    2)did not got through the process (any legal process) to cross into America.
    For the life of me anybody that doesn’t differentiate the terms is just in denial.
    E
    Hardliners Try to White-Wash Their Own Immigrant Pasts by Redefining ‘Immigration’
    “IT’S NOT ‘IMMIGRATION’ AND THEY’RE NOT ‘IMMIGRANTS.’” (This claim is often articulated in that ALL CAPS style so popular with small children and lunatics who are off their meds.)
    The word “immigrant” has nothing at all to do with legal status. It means, simply, to move from one place to another for the purpose of settling down. Papers, no papers — it’s all irrelevant to the act of migrating.
    The claim can be dispatched easily enough with a little elementary etymology. The word “migration” first appears in the English language in reference to humans in 1611, some 37 years before the modern nation state, with its discrete borders, came into existence. The Latin root of the verb “to immigrate,” immigrare, predates that by more than a thousand years. Human migration is a phenomenon that dates back to before homo sapiens even existed — pre-modern humans migrated wily-nilly. So, clearly, the word “immigrant” has nothing whatsoever to do with one’s paperwork being in order; its roots predate the existence of contemporary legal systems.
    THEY’RE NOT ‘IMMIGRANTS

  23. Katy said:

    ME: “Truthfully, the majority of the “Undocumented” pay into the system to find themselves never getting any of that money back.”
    The fact is that low income contributers always get back more than they put in, whether in federal income taxes or Social Security, acting as debetors rather than a creditors. The fact that illegal aliens won’t be getting back money they shouldn’t have been permitted to deposit due to their illegitimate presence doesn’t bother me in the least, and I suspect that the majority of Americans feel the same way. Consider it a small fine or fee for violating our immigration laws; a downpayment on the cost of the enforcement efforts that they are making necessary. As an alternative to what people like you cnsider injustice, they can always return to their homelands in protest.

  24. cookie said:

    As Orwell pointed out in his published book “1984,” if one can control
    the language, one can conceal the truth — just as Hispanics want to
    conceal the fact that their growing presence in the U.S. is largely
    due to the largest illegal migration of people in the history of the
    world.

  25. Evelyn said:

    MANY OF YOU KNOW NOTHING OR CHOOSE TO IGNORE WHY MEXICANS COME HERE!
    First of all, people from south of the border come here because their wealth, the wealth of their country is continuously being stolen by the corrupt EuroMexican government in collusion with the US government.
    The corrupt EuroMexican government is propelled into power by corruption with help from the US government. The US government has influenced elections in many countries below our southern border when they see a president like Hugo Chavez or Evo Morales about to get elected knowing these types (indigenous) will cut the long arm of the US off and out of reach of their cookie jar because they care about their people and are not willing to collude with the US government.
    Here is proof of that fact in Mexico.
    World Media Gets Order to Make Mexican Vote Fraud Disappear Down the Memory Hole
    author: stunning
    http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2006/07/342179.shtml
    Stealing Mexico – Bush Team Helps ‘Floridize’ Mexican Presidential Election
    author: Greg Palast
    http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2006/07/341919.shtml
    ~~~
    The United States always gets singled out. But for good reason: It is the world’s largest consumer. Americans take the greatest share of most of the world’s major commodities: corn, coffee, copper, lead, zinc, aluminum, rubber, oil seeds, oil, and natural gas. For many others, Americans are the largest per-capita consumers. In “super-size-me” land, Americans gobble up more than 120 kilograms of meat a year per person, compared to just 6 kilos in India, for instance.
    http://www.alternet.org/environment/136449/consumption%2C_not_population_is_our_main_environmental_threat/?page=entire
    ~~~
    While there has been some media coverage of NAFTA’s ruinous impact on US industrial communities, there has been even less media attention paid to its catastrophic effects in Mexico:
    NAFTA, by permitting heavily-subsidized US corn and other agri-business products to compete with small Mexican farmers, has driven the Mexican farmer off the land due to low-priced imports of US corn and other agricultural products. Some 2 million Mexicans have been forced out of agriculture, and many of those that remain are living in desperate poverty. These people are among those that cross the border to feed their families. (Meanwhile, corn-based tortilla prices climbed by 50%. No wonder many so Mexican peasants have called NAFTA their ‘death warrant.’
    NAFTA’s service-sector rules allowed big firms like Wal-Mart to enter the Mexican market and, selling low-priced goods made by ultra-cheap labor in China, to displace locally-based shoe, toy, and candy firms. An estimated 28,000 small and medium-sized Mexican businesses have been eliminated.
    Wages along the Mexican border have actually been driven down by about 25% since NAFTA, reported a Carnegie Endowment study. An over-supply of workers, combined with the crushing of union organizing drives as government policy, has resulted in sweatshop pay running sweatshops along the border where wages typically run 60 cents to $1 an hour.
    So rather than improving living standards, Mexican wages have actually fallen since NAFTA. The initial growth in the number of jobs has leveled off, with China’s even more repressive labor system luring US firms to locate there instead.
    http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0425-30.htm

  26. Marisa Treviño said:

    Cookie, are you implying there is a conspiracy going on to overtake the country? I would laugh but I feel that you’re serious and I pity you if that is truly your viewpoint.

  27. cookie said:

    No, I am not implying that Marisa but there is indeed a reconquista movement going on among Chicano Nationalists in this country albeit not on a large scale as yet.
    What would be the outcome of a continued illegal migration from mostly one ethnic group as what has been happening for decades now? Numerical and political power and a transformation of our society from a majority anglo country to a majority Hispanic country. There doesn’t need to be a conspiracy involved. Do the math!

  28. Benjamin said:

    “The word “immigrant” has nothing at all to do with legal status. It means, simply, to move from one place to another for the purpose of settling down. Papers, no papers — it’s all irrelevant to the act of migrating.”
    I guess that it doesn’t matter legally how foreigners enter a country. Then the invasion of Poland by Russia and Germany was just a migration and we should just call the invaders immigrants? I suggest that the way they(Mexicans and others) entered our country by forcing their way in is no more legitimate than how the Germans and Russians entered Poland. No, the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations is very clear about who should and shouldn’t be considered and immigrant.

  29. irma said:

    “That’s true, but it is the illegal aliens that have caused the ill will that’s shown toward them. And why should illegal aliens feelings be considered when the crime has been committed against the citizens by violation of their laws? They didn’t seem to have any consideration for the American people’s feelings when they crossed the border illegally. Yes, there is ill will, but is a righteous ill will on the part of the people of this country.”
    I dont know that technically being in the United States without going through the
    regular avenues is a crime. Crimes are punishable in a particular way by the US
    government depending on the type of crime. The punishments range from community service to incarceration in prison for months or years etc. There is nothing on the books that I am aware of that specifies a punishment to be
    executed by the US government for
    entry or residence in the country without government approval. So I would say that persons UNAUTHORIZED to reside in the United States, have not
    TECHNICALLY committed a crime.
    I would also ask why you dont seem to understand that righteous indignation runs both ways. Mexicans have long held the view that they have a RIGHT
    to reside in the SouthWestern part of the United States as that land was STOLEN
    from them. In their view, they are not doing anything wrong.
    And please stop talking about what the
    American people want. I am included in that group and I have no problems at all with immigrants from ANY country coming here to work without documentation if necessary.
    The Europeans never asked the American Indian if they could come -
    they just came. This set a precedent in my view, that should REMAIN in effect.

  30. arturo fernandez said:

    I have no problem with “illegal immigrant”. “Illegal” in this case is an adjective for immigrant. It’s a good idea to point out that the admirable decision to come to this country to better your life is illegal in some sense. It should make us want to change the law to make it easier to cross the border, to make what they’re doing legal, because it’s a good thing what they’re doing.
    But of course, those who insist on using “illegal immigrant” are using it to denigrate, not because they care that words be used properly. Some commentors above insist that “illegal alien” be used. Alien just means unfamiliar, different. Americans are as alien to visitors as visitors are to Americans (which is not that different anyway). A commentor insists they aren’t immigrants, because they’re not here to stay. But many legal immigrants started out as illegal immigrants. Most foreign-born Californians who are now legal residents started out as illegal immigrants. “Immigrant” is the only word that fits.
    Those opposed to illegal immigrants show their fascist impulse by turning illegal from an adjective to a noun, “illegals”. It is no longer meant to clarify their immigration status, but to offend their person as completely as possible. The word “illegals” is fascist and is everywhere.

  31. Texan123 said:

    What proof is available to prove that the Southwestern U.S. was stolen from Mexico?
    We have heard this claim repeatedly as a justifcation for the invasion of the U.S. by Mexican Nationals. Obviously, American students have been taught a different history of our Country. Personally, I have never heard Mexico officially contest the location of the current border.
    Surely, if a legal claim exists, Mexico would have pursued it years ago.
    Many of the current immigration laws did not exist 200 years ago. Therefore anyone who came here before there were immigration laws did not come illegally. Frankly, the reason it has become a major problem is due to the Mexican attitude that they are above the law and have a “right” to American territory, jobs, education, and benefits. This attitude also says it is ok to lie to employers, use someone elses Social Security number, drive without a license or insurance, claim IRS refunds by using false Social Security numbers to claim earnings and refusing to learn the language of the country they are stealing from.
    Reciting the migration history of the past does not justfy illegal immigration in the present. The continued flow of uneducated, low income workers will only add to the the strain we are under as a nation.
    What solutions do the pro-amnesty crowd offer to STOP illegal immigration? Do we just open the border to all who wish to come? This country can not afford to take care of all the world’s poor and underprivileged. I have to wonder if any illegal immigrant Hispanics would give up their job to an immigrant from Haiti, China, or Ethiopia. It is the LEGAL immigrants who suffer most from uncontrolled illegal immigration.

  32. cindi jane said:

    There’s just one reason why Obama used the term “illegal immigrant”; it’s because he was playing to the nation as a whole. He knows that “illegal immigrant” is acceptable by the majority of citizens and that he could throw the Latinos under the bus and just apologize afterward. He takes Latinos and the rest of the country for fools by talking out of both sides of his face.

  33. irma said:

    Texan 123, have you ever asked yourself
    how it was that the United States
    acquired the Southwest ? There isnt much discussion about that in US history books
    I guess they are ashamed even to discuss about how it happened. Ask yourself this,
    what was the political climate at that time in Mexico? Indeed, was there really anyone in charge who was authorized to make decisions for the country ? If it happened today the world would have stood up in protest of what was equivalent to stealing from a crippled nation.

  34. martha said:

    “I dont know that technically being in the United States without going through the
    regular avenues is a crime. Crimes are punishable in a particular way by the US
    government depending on the type of crime.”
    Maybe you don’t know Irma, but those who’ve been apprehended twice and who are now serving time in a federal penitentiary do.
    Under Title 8 Section 1325 of the U.S. Code, “Improper Entry by Alien,” any citizen of any country other than the United States who:
    * Enters or attempts to enter the United States at any time or place other than as designated by immigration officers; or
    * Eludes examination or inspection by immigration officers; or
    * Attempts to enter or obtains entry to the United States by a willfully false or misleading representation or the willful concealment of a material fact;
    has committed a federal crime.
    Violations are punishable by criminal fines and imprisonment for up to six months. Repeat offenses can bring up to two years in prison. Additional civil fines may be imposed at the discretion of immigration judges, but civil fines do not negate the criminal sanctions or nature of the offense.

  35. Liquidmicro said:

    Come on Marisa, Evelyn and I have had this conversation about the Southwest. Spain claimed the territory, few lived their, Mexico was trying to pay people to move their. Most living their were of Spanish decent, not Mayan, etc. Santa Ana screwed them, not the USA.
    This “Stolen” crap is just that, crap.

  36. irma said:

    Dear Liquid Micro,
    The Mayas were not Mexican. They were Mayas. Mexicans are a mixture
    of any kind of Mexican Indian and any kind of European. That usually means Spanish plus some kind of Mexican Indian.
    Santa Ana did betray the Mexican government and its people and the
    US Government took advantage of
    a very unstable political situation.
    Did the US steal from Mexico ? You bet,
    If they tried such a thing today, they would never get away with it. It would be equivalent to the US possessing Canada if their government suddenly disbanded.

  37. Liquidmicro said:

    OK Irma, Santa Ana betrayed the Mexican people? How so? By signing the Valesco Treaties and not having the Mexican Government ratify them? Mexico did finally recognize the Independence of Texas, The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the ending of the Mexican American War, and the inclusion of Texas into the USA.
    I suggest you look to the Presidents of Mexico during that time frame and how one of them was ousted in favor of a Government that would continue the war and eventually lose. I also suggest you do your research as to what lead up to the revolt in Texas, starting with the 1824 Mexican Constitution. You should also realize that the revolt in Texas in 1836 was a revolt of Mexican Citizens against the Mexican Government and NO American Citizens were involved. Then maybe you could look at the Bear Flag Revolt and how the Mexican Generals and Army in California were in on that revolt against its own Government.
    Then answer what and whom gave Spain the right to claim the territory. What gave Mexico the right to the territory in 1821. If Mexico had less than 30K of its citizens living north of the now border, most living along the rivers, raids by Native Indigenous running them back across the river and Mexico re-selling those areas for pennies on the dollar, who really then is to blame?
    The USA may have taken advantage of the plight of the Mexican Government, but so go the spoils to the victor. Mexico was well reimbursed for the territory, Mexico was to incur some of the debt too, yet to this day still has failed to pay those debts to its own people. Look to the Asociación de Reclamantes.

  38. Jorge said:

    “I would also ask why you dont seem to understand that righteous indignation runs both ways. Mexicans have long held the view that they have a RIGHT
    to reside in the SouthWestern part of the United States as that land was STOLEN
    from them. In their view, they are not doing anything wrong.”
    Hola! This is exactly the type of reasoning that the Germans used to justify invasion of the Sudetenland, the Rhineland and Austria; lies told to foment hatred and advance an agenda. The reason that Mexicans feel that way is because malcontent propagandists like the Aztlanders are fanning the fire. Extreme left wing Chavez clones and right wing politicians are taking advantage of the Mexican poor and trying to blame the U.S. for Mexican problems. No doubt the Mexican government benefits because such animous and frustratins would otherwise be directed at them.

  39. pablo said:

    Irma, Mexico has as much chance of getting back the lost territory as the U.S. has in annexing Canada, so the Mexican government might just as well give up any thoughts of nullifying the Treaty. I find it pathetic that the Mexican people still think that they have the remotist of chance of turning back the clock to pre-1848. Apparently they spend a lot of time living in the past and not enough time contemplating their future. Whose fault is that? Those who govern Mexico, that’s who, and that is who we Latinos should be directing our chastizing efforts on behalf of undocumented immigrants.

  40. Aaron said:

    Dear Irma,
    I’m all for returning this country back to the Native Americans, if the less than full-blooded Central and South Americans will return to Spain and other parts. If the Europeans are thieves, then much of Mexico is also occupied by thieves. I’m sure that the modern day descendants of the Mayans and Aztecs will be happy to see most of these people depart. And I’m sure that there are Amer-Indians that perceive Hispanics the same way that the Mexicans apparently see the U.S. as real estate banditos. Just how far back do you want to go in fostering grudges?

  41. irma said:

    Dear LIquid Micro,
    The Mexican people say they were cheated and I agree with them.
    Spoils go to the victor? If you truly believe that you may one day see
    that the Southwest will be controlled
    by American citzens of Mexican descent. Good things come to those who wait.

  42. Evelyn said:

    Did the US steal from Mexico ? You bet,
    If they tried such a thing today, they would never get away with it. It would be equivalent to the US possessing Canada if their government suddenly disbanded.
    Irma you are 100% CORRECT!
    I found Stolen Birthright: The U.S. Conquest and Exploitation of the Mexican People to be the closest story to the ones you can read from a real History book you can buy. One that hasent been whitewashed that is.

  43. cookie said:

    Jorge, Pablo and Aaron, excellent remarks! Don’t hold your breath for those living in the past eternally, disregarding the fact that it was the Spaniards (THEIR OWN ANCESTORS) not Anglos that conquered the indigenous natives of Mexico and the fact that the U.S. goverment paid 15 million and forgave many debts to acquire parts of the southwest. Oh no, they don’t want to admit or talk about that, do they?
    As for the rest of this country that was never a part of Mexico if the indigenous of this part of that part of the country have a beef let them take it up with our government and stop insinuating that those of us that weren’t even alive back, didn’t even have ancestors who were a part of that past and were born here, don’t belong here.
    Why are Mexicans taking over the entire U.S. then since only a small part of the southwestern U.S. was ever a part of Mexico? Why isn’t the Mexican government taking it up with our government then if they had any leg to stand on?

  44. Liquidmicro said:

    OK Evelyn and Irma, I really hate to do this, not really, but your arguments fly in the face of your other arguments.
    First, you rant and rave that the Native Indigenous have the right to this land, now you are claiming that Mexicans, as Irma has described as a mixture of Spanish and Aztec, Mayan, etc. (Mexican Native Indigenous) have the right to the Southwest. Did not Spain do to the Native Indigenous of the area the same as what you are claiming the USA did to them? So then I ask again, what gave Spain the right to the territory, or for that matter, the Mexican people the right to the territory? Which do you wish to argue for, the Native Indigenous of the territory in dispute or for the Mexican people to forgo US Law? Because you can not argue for both as they cancel each other out.
    And if, as you claim Irma, the Southwest will be controlled by American citzens of Mexican descent. Good things come to those who wait. How is that going to open the border, or even allow for Mexicans to become American Citizens? How also do you explain an Asian being elected in a heavily Hispanic populized district? What of all the corruption of Hispanic Elected officials? I say, good luck with your statement.

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