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High Plains Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 04:09 PM
Original message
Illegals vs. undocumented workers
Once upon a time, progressives shunned the use of "illegals" in favor of "undocumented workers." Now, at least on this board, "undocumented workers" have gone the way of the dodo-bird.

Are we not falling into the old trap of using the language of the haters and fear-mongers? Should we start referring to pro-choice people as "pro-abortion" while we're at it?
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tritsofme Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 04:11 PM
Response to Original message
1. They simply are illegal aliens.
Its a technical and legal term more than anything.

"Undocumented workers" is too PC for me and I don't use it.
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napi21 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 04:16 PM
Response to Original message
2. I remember when I first joined DU, I asked what the difference was
between an illigal and an undocumented. That was quite a while ago, and I was told that they're the same people.

I'm sure NO RWinger, but I don't see a problem calling people who cross a border an illegal.

If I keep a car in my garage that I claim is mine, but somebody else has title to it, does that make me an undocumented owner...or a thief who did an illegal act?

Lets put all this politically corect speach in the dumpster!

We all say we like candidates who say it like it is! Many here really like Howard Dean, and Hackett. We need to stop candycoating words!
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MisterP Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 05:05 PM
Response to Reply #2
12. but we also don't like Pat Buchanan, and he doesn't "candy-coat" either
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TahitiNut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 05:11 PM
Response to Reply #12
15. Even the people I "don't like" can be correct.
:shrug: I'd hate to become an unthinking 'opposer' and surrender control over my own choices to mere opposition.
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MisterP Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 05:20 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. since when is not adopting "illegal" over "undocumented" "surrendering"
that is also not the basis of my preference--I'm using his own rules against him--he cites Dean and Hackett on "candy coating," I cite Buchanan.
It's also unadulterated bilge to say that "undocumented" is "sugar-coating."
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TahitiNut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 05:31 PM
Response to Reply #16
20. So, if some company had a factory full of 13-year-olds working the looms
... would we call them "undocumented" because they didn't carry their legitimate birth certificates?

No. I think we'd be yelling for the employer's hanging. I would. Are they "illegal" workers? Absofuckinglutely.

I regard the issues very similarly, and the preferred remedy similarly as well.
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Robert Oak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 04:20 PM
Response to Original message
3. legal definition
Anyone entering the country illegally is an illegal alien.

I think what's going on here is the realization on how this is affecting
wages in the US, border security and labor economics.

It's not a "racism" issue which unfortunately so many try to claim it is.

The Katrina rebuilding I think really woke up people to the realities of using illegal aliens to displace American workers and wage bust.

Any American entering say "switzerland" for example would be called the same thing if they entered that country illegally. If you are legal
in Europe, you are a "foreigner", which again, is what you are.
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Telly Savalas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 05:21 PM
Response to Reply #3
17. By the legal definition, people who break sodomy laws are criminals.
So do we crack down on the people who offend these laws or do we fix the laws?
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Robert Oak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 05:26 PM
Response to Reply #17
19. fix
But, the statistics on illegal immigration are in and it's not a pretty picture. One has to pay attention to the reality that immigration policy is one of the key elements in crafting a positive labor economics policy.

If you want to help Mexicans(and general S. of the border), it's their government and NAFTA which is making them so desperate, but this classic idea that for some nebulous reason the US should just blow away it's own immigration policy is ridiculous.

You cannot fix injustice by ruining the American labor economy...all that's happening is hurting American workers by a massive increase in supply of cheap labor. It enables abuses, union busting and a repression of wages.

It has nothing to do with race and everything to do with cheap labor.

Why do you think the Bush administration has ignored this problem? Cheap labor is why.
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Telly Savalas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 05:49 PM
Response to Reply #19
22. I don't think you can find a single person here
who would disagree with the argument that Bush's policy is based on exploiting cheap labor.

The point is that rather than becoming a branch of the Minutemen, it would be preferable to recognize that the U.S. is a nation of immigrants and that our laws should reflect this. If we choose investing in schools, hospitals, and social services as a priority over giving the wealthy tax breaks and pissing money away for needless military operations, then we can easily support a large influx of new citizens.

If we loosen up the immigration laws, it denecessitates illegal immigration and the exploitation that accompanies it. Of course to make this work, it will require the implementation of liberal policies. I'm fully aware that this place isn't so much a liberal website anymore, but rather a Bush Hate Club, so a lot of people find it easier to blame Mexicans than to advocate an across the board progressive policy platform.

Right now I live in a large metropolitan area where immigrants outnumber native born citizens. It actually works out fairly well because the Canadian government is a lot more supportive of its infrastructure and social programs than the Bush Administration.

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Selatius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 05:59 PM
Response to Reply #22
25. The key point is "citizens"
By law, those who enter the country without going through proper channels are "illegal aliens." That's not the case with the hundreds of thousands who came to this country through places like Ellis Island legally. They enjoyed the protection of US labor laws as a result, whatever protections existed 60, 70, or beyond 80 years ago.

Illegal aliens do not, and as a result, everybody is hurt. Farmers in this country have historically not made much as far as wages go, but at the time, it was enough to scratch by, but the presence of illegal aliens as well as agribusiness conglomerates that hire contractors who then turn around and use illegal aliens have helped to drive American farmers into bankruptcy as well as lead to the inhumane exploitation of these desperate people. Both parties lose.

We, the workers of the world, are being pitted against each other, and the greedy fat-asses who profit off the desperate struggle are laughing themselves to the bank off our collective blood, sweat, and tears.
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Robert Oak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 06:07 PM
Response to Reply #22
26. Canada is socialist
and 32M so yuppers and they are following labor economics it works out just fine.

But, if one notices CA has skills as part of it's immigration requirements. One cannot be illiterate and unskilled and legally immigrate to Canada easily.

The US is 300M and these illegal aliens are unskilled labor. We have Americans unemployed and wages decreasing.

It's a "no can do" for America in terms of labor economics right now.
It's a completely different labor pool and population from Canada.

But, certainly Canada is a very good example of being socially just
and having a sane immigration policy per the nation's good.

No one is "blaming" Mexicans. We're talking about Americans.

You cannnot save a drowing person by drowning yourself and that's basically the attitude being portrayed by playing the "race" card.

It's not valid at all.
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Fleshdancer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 04:24 PM
Response to Original message
4. what I don't understand....
is how come there's not a common term for US Companies that illegally employ illegal/undocumented workers?
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Gormy Cuss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 04:26 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. Good one! n/t
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nickgutierrez Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 04:38 PM
Response to Reply #4
9. There is: "Corporation". n/t
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txaslftist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 04:56 PM
Response to Reply #4
10. illegal sweatshops?
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Fleshdancer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 06:16 PM
Response to Reply #10
29. yeah...sweatshops work
American sweatshops. That's exactly what they are. Thanks Txlftist!
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napi21 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 05:52 PM
Response to Reply #4
24. There is! It's called criminal!
Now, why aren't any prosecuted? Because the same Gov't who isn't doing anything about illegal aliens, isn't doing anything about their cause of illegals wanting to be here!

It's yet another "support the Corp cause, no matter what!"

If there were no jobs, and no money to be made here without people going to the "legal" channels, few if any would come!

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fleabert Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 04:25 PM
Response to Original message
5. no shit.
it's disgusting that our own have taken such a liking to the dehumanizing language.

first and foremost, 'they' are people.
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noahmijo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 04:32 PM
Response to Original message
7. The part that bothers me is the "alien" part
I could even live with illegal migrants because they are here illegally but "aliens" that's so fucking degrading they are flesh and blood human beings for chrissake.
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napi21 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 06:08 PM
Response to Reply #7
27. That's because YOU have adopted a new meaning to the word alien.
alien ('l-ən, l'yən)
adj.
1. Owing political allegiance to another country or government; foreign: alien residents.
2. Belonging to, characteristic of, or constituting another and very different place, society, or person; strange. See synonyms at foreign.
3. Dissimilar, inconsistent, or opposed, as in nature: emotions alien to her temperament.

n.
1. An unnaturalized foreign resident of a country. Also called noncitizen.
2. A person from another and very different family, people, or place.
3. A person who is not included in a group; an outsider.
4. A creature from outer space: a story about an invasion of aliens.

Ecology. An organism, especially a plant or animal, that occurs in or is naturalized in a region to which it is not native.

tr.v. Law., -ened, -ening, -ens.
To transfer (property) to another; alienate.



Many words seem to have taken on a different new meaning in recent years! Just because there was a movie "Alien" doesn't mean that everything and everyone that is alien is from outerspace!

I didn't keep it, but I recently received an email that listed a lot of different words that somehow have completely changed meaning!!!

Word: Used to be:
Bit a very small amount
Bite Something you ate
Gay Cheerful
Mary Jane A style of little girl's shoe
Roach A disgusting bug


And yes, alien I guess falls into that catagory.
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countryjake Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 04:37 PM
Response to Original message
8. It's the same as calling the Chinese "Coolies"...
the racists back then defended their use of that word by saying it was a "technical" term and the authentic Chinese translation of those who do "painstakingly hard work". Yup, and we wanted to ship them back where they came from after they "got in the way", too!

Actually, I look forward to paying 5 bucks for a head of lettuce, $3 per apple, and 10 dollars for a flat of strawberries! At least then we'll know that the people whose backs were broken picking our food for us earn what they are worth!
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Greyhound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 05:10 PM
Response to Reply #8
14. and it would stop the artificially low wages being paid all over amerika.
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countryjake Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 05:24 PM
Response to Reply #14
18. How do ya figure that?
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Greyhound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 05:50 PM
Response to Reply #18
23. Assuming your scenario is correct, a head of lettuce should cost
$3 or whatever you said. If it did you would demand a higher wage than you currently get in order that you are able to purchase $3 lettuce. By allowing this corrupt system to continue you not only suppress the wages of the workers, you suppress your own wages too, all for obscene profits for the corporate masters.
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countryjake Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 06:26 PM
Response to Reply #23
30. Good Luck!
According to Chertoff, the round-up will begin, so I hope you can get your kicks watching prices soar and food rot in the field as all those nasty undesirables are shipped back where they came from. Have a ball telling your employer that you can't afford to feed your family anymore, due to the price of eggs...go ahead, demand that higher wage...see what it gets you!

Viva La Huelga!
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Greyhound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 02:09 PM
Response to Reply #30
32. How utterly non-responsive and purposely obtuse. n/t
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txaslftist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 05:00 PM
Response to Original message
11. How about "illegal immigrants"?
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Greyhound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 05:07 PM
Response to Original message
13. I don't use 'undocumented workers' because it lends an air of
Edited on Wed Oct-19-05 05:08 PM by greyhound1966
legitimacy to them. They are breaking the laws of our country every day they are here. They are injurious to our economy, they foster a pervasive lack of respect for the law, they make it possible for our politiwhores to not raise the minimum wage and to relax safety standards, they suppress our standard of living, they tax our education, law enforcement, and health care systems. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
:hide:
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Igel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 05:37 PM
Response to Original message
21. When I was at UCLA there was a flap over illegal aliens
registering at in-state fee rates. Some people insisted on using the term 'undocumented worker' to refer to them in a fit of unthinking allegiance to PC norms at the time.

The paper ran the life stories of some of them: how their families scrimped and saved so that the kids never had to get a job--they could study, practice their instrument, hone their academic skills, and get scholarships (only stellar students were cited). Even worse, it referred to other, younger 'undocumented workers' in their families.

18-year-old 'undocumented workers' that had never worked a day in their lives? And their 8- and 9-year-old siblings as 'undocumented workers'? In the end, even the writers realized they were parodying the term.

You can exclude 'illegal immigrant' and 'illegal migrant' the same way.

They're aliens: They're not citizens or born here (with all due regard to later extension of the term's meaning by science fiction writers, and people who aren't widely read enough to realize that the science-fiction meaning is but a recent extension of the core meaning). And they're not here legally.
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countryjake Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 06:14 PM
Response to Original message
28. After reading some of these posts...
I'm changing my comment! In the past when our system has hit shaky ground, it's always been convenient for our government to shift blame to those who lie at the bottom of the pit of hopelessness in our nation...ship them here to do the drudge, then sic the masses on them when their work is no longer needed...maintain that division so nobody notices who the real thieves and criminals might be. Because they know that one united workforce is their ultimate fear...the day that ALL who sell their labor stand up and demand that All who work for a living in this country deserve an honest wage, safe working conditions, decent health care and every other benefit, and RESPECT for the work that we do! Without us, they are NOTHING!

True progressive liberal thought should include righting the wrongs of all who suffer at the hands of oppression. It's not about MINE, MINE, MINE! It should be OUR!

As a laborer in this country, I stand in solidarity with all who fight for a better life here! That includes any undocumented immigrants who may need to seek shelter when this budding-fascist nation starts the round-up and opens the detention camps and tries to make a criminal out of my friends and fellow workers! These are the people I hold things in common with, NOT the cabal who claims to own me!
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High Plains Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 06:31 PM
Response to Original message
31. Political correctness...
What a right-wing hobgoblin and talking point. And people here are eating it up. Wouldn't want to say "undocumented worker" because it would be PC. What is this, the Rush Limbaugh show?

These "illegals" are for the most part hard-working, enterprising people who had the fortitude to leave home, cross inhospitable terrain, and come to a foreign country to try to make a better life for themselves. They are "illegal" only in the sense that they lack a piece of paper to let them cross an imaginary line.

I wonder why so many DUers want to blame these people at the very bottom for the ills of this society. Are you sure it isn't the Jews? Or uppity women? Or homosexuals, er, excuse me, I don't want to be pc, faggots? Or maybe, just maybe, it's not the Mexicans' fault. Maybe the fault lies with the people who have power in this country?

I also have a hard time believing all of these wage-earning people are somehow draining our economy. If they have fake IDs (and many do), they pay taxes and Social Security. Even if they aren't on payrolls, they pay taxes on consumer goods, rental properties, etc. And you know what? I bet there are more than a few people who have jobs providing services to these 11 million undocumented workers.

Do they drive down wages? I'm no labor economist, but I would reckon depressed wages are a result of undocumented workers being unable to protect their labor rights. It seems like the best solution is not the fanciful dream of "shutting down the border" or "enforcing the immigration laws," but somehow regularizing their presence here so they are protected under the labor laws. It seems like employers would be unable to exploit them with low wages if they could organize without fear of arrest and deportation.

Appeals to nativism are an American tradition, but they're still ugly.
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