‘Illegal’ dehumanizing

If the Hastings Tribune values its reputation as a credible, unbiased news source, then it must stop using the term “illegal” immigrants.

People are not “illegals” and the term is not legally accurate.

“Illegal alien” and “illegal immigrant” are incoherent terms from the standpoint of immigration law. Immigration judges and ICE attorneys don’t use the terms because they are meaningless in the context of immigration proceedings.

The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), the highest administrative body for interpreting and applying immigration laws, does not use the terms either.

The use of the term illegal immigrant in a political cartoon (Hastings Tribune, May 8) scapegoats an entire community, which should not be blamed for our nation’s deeply flawed economic and immigration policies.

Surely, the paper’s editors do not intend to dehumanize and criminalize whole communities of people. But that’s what you are contributing to.

The Tribune’s use of these words supports the acceptance of stereotypes that often lead to ineffective laws that mostly punish people of color — laws that, as a nation, we come to regret later.

Racial epithets used to describe Japanese, American Indians and African Americans have paved the way for racist policies such as detention camps, reservations and Jim Crow laws.

It was wrong then, and it’s wrong now.

With every reference to humans as “illegal,” the Tribune puts its journalistic integrity in jeopardy. These are clearly political and biased terms that have no place in legitimate reporting.

The Tribune would be doing itself and this community a service by discontinuing this practice.

Juan Gallegos
Hastings



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