Alien Is an Appropriate Word

Lawmakers probably meant no harm when they codified the term “alien” into the landmark 1952 bill that remains the basis of America’s immigration system. Over the years, the label has struck newcomers as a quirky aspect of moving to America. Many, understandably, have also come to regard it as a loaded, disparaging word, used by those who regard immigrants as less-than-human burdens rather than assets. . . . The federal government should scrub it from official documents where possible. In the end, though, it will be up to Congress to recognize that there is no compelling reason to keep a hostile term in the law that sets out how immigrants are welcomed into the country. – Time to Retire the Term ‘Alien’ The Editorial Board, The New York Times 10/20/15.

Fact Check: The Times concedes that no one had a problem with the term “alien” in the past. And why should they have objected? All it means is “foreigner.” Or, as the Merriam-Webster dictionary states, “a person who was born in a different country and is not a citizen of the country in which he or she now lives.”

So just what has changed since 1952, to make this word objectionable—at least in the eyes of the Times? Certainly back in the 1950s, Americans appreciated the distinctive character of their country, the importance of its sovereignty, and the value of its citizenship. These concepts distinguished our country from other countries. The distinction was not denigrate foreigners or their lands, but to affirm what we were and wanted to be.

Since that time, however, the advocates of globalism and mass immigration have striven to erase the distinction between American and foreign. Treasonous is the word that most fittingly describes their campaign. If any words are “loaded and disparaging” it is the language they use to demean patriotic Americans—such politically correct brickbats as nativist, xenophobe, racist, hater, etc.

For some time the political correctors have tried to get rid of the word “illegal” (as in illegal alien or illegal immigrant), and replace it with the word “undocumented.” This semantic sleight-of-hand is supposed to keep us from considering that the reason the “undocumented” don’t have legal documents is that they are here illegally.

The purpose of this duplicity is to blur the distinction between legal and illegal immigrants and suggest that there is no difference between the people who sneak across our borders and the people who lawfully came through Ellis Island. The effort now to abolish alien, once again, is to minimize the difference between Americans and foreigners. Indeed, the day may come when the Times will proclaim that the word “American” is offensive.

George Orwell spoke of how totalitarians aim to twist language so that words won’t even exist to express opposition to their agendas. If there are no foreigners and no Americans, then the Americans can hardly object to the loss of their country.


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