Yglesias on “Illegals”

Matt YglesiasThe correct word choice around unauthorized immigration to the United States is, of course, politically contested in the United States. I like to refer to unauthorized immigration or migration because I think it’s correct. Talk about undocumented immigrants seems euphemistic, like they just lost their paperwork. Talk of illegal immigrants carries with it inaccurate implication about the actual legal framework of immigration. But referring to human beings as illegals is just plain offensive. Legally speaking, you’re only allowed to drive so fast. Lots of people nonetheless regularly drive faster than that. Referring to such people as illegals as if their proclivity for violating vehicle speed ordinances is a good way of capturing their essential nature would be absurd. Nonetheless, the fact of the matter is that speeding kills innocent people regularly while the only lives risked in unauthorized border crossings are those of the migrants themselves.

—Matt Yglesias
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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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