Leaving "illegal" out of the "immigration" debate is dishonest

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Participants in the International Workers' Day Mass March and Rally in Chicago gather at Union Park today to support illegal immigration. (Abel Uribe/ Chicago Tribune)

Yet, everywhere, the fight over the new Arizona law is called a debate over "immigration," rather than over "illegal immigration."

Thus, a New York Times headline said "Immigration advocates rally for change." An Associated Press headline said "Deputy shot looking for immigrants." The BBC: "Protests across U.S. over Arizona immigration law." The Los Angeles Times: "Arizona lawmakers modify immigration law." Christian Science Monitor: "May Day takes immigration fight to the street." Dallas Morning News: "Details about Arizona immigration law."
The same is true in the discussion of immigrants' "rights." Yes, immigrants (legal) have rights, but to speak of Illegal immigrant rights is something vastly different.  Thus, the Los Angeles Times  notifies us that "Thousands gather to rally for immigrant rights in downtown Los Angeles. And the Sun-Times: "Immigrant rights activists plan dozens of rallies for Saturday."



 
And on and on it goes. Blogs and newscasts, politicians and activists, dishonestly or lazily calling the debate spurred by Arizona's new law a fight over "immigration" or "immigrants" rights. 
The deceitful labeling of the debate is so widespread that you wonder how people (e.g. journalists) who are supposed to know better somehow became so ignorant or dishonest all at once. 
Nothing in the Arizona law changes who qualifies for entry into the country. Or the procedure and timetable for becoming permanent alien residents. What it does change is how Arizona law enforcement officers can deal with illegal immigrants. The distinction is so obvious that it feels unnecessary to even mention it. Sadly, mention is necessary.  
Otherwise, it is easy to cast opponents of illegal immigration  as "anti-immigration" or, in too many cases, "racist."  I don't expect this journalistic abuse or laziness to end because of the softening of professional standards and ethics in the industry. And the failure of many practitioners of "new media" to have even the slightest idea of professionalism.

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  • Way to break it down. I wonder how many people at these rallies could be deported. They should check them all for proof of citizenship, and arrest those without it. Maybe that will reduce the number of these silly gatherings. These people just want a wide open border. Can't people see the chaos that would cause in this country.

  • Do you really believe this????? They are here illegally,what part don't you get. Next we'll be asking bank robbers to weigh in on the punishment for their offense.They will never see anything wrong with open boarders.A fense makes for good neighbors .

  • Mr. Byrne makes an excellent point about how leaving the "illegal" out of the immigration debate is dishonest. Basically, I agree with people like Mr. Byrne on illegal immigration, but am a bit troubled by the statute of limitations part of the debate. Most crimes have a seven-year statute of limitations. Why not illegal immigration?

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