In November 2008, I wrote a column asking why, when I cite statistics from the Census Bureau, the U.S. Department of Labor or the California Department of Education that prove that immigration adds dramatically to overpopulation, depresses American workers' wages or adds disproportionately to classroom size, some readers label me a racist. Others, even more vehement, call me a hate-monger.
Why throw stones at me? After all, I wondered out loud, my sources are beyond reproach. No one challenges their methodology.
My purpose over the two decades that I've brought immigration facts into the greater light of day is not to offend but to raise awareness. With every passing year, my effort has become increasingly politically incorrect.
But, although I never expect to be canonized, I think of myself as a modern day St. Sebastian, the target of my enemy's arrows. No matter how many they shoot at me, I survive to battle on.
Still, thin skins have a tough time with hard facts.
A recent letter to the News-Sentinel editor proves my case.
Earlier this month in one of the News-Sentinel's mostly widely read weekly items, a furious reader wrote that my continued use of "illegal alien" is "dehumanizing". According to the livid correspondent, I am filled with "hate and racism," an "oppressor" that "spews" anti-immigrant rhetoric.
While the News-Sentinel's feedback section comforted me with its nearly unanimous support, my detractor's allies included one reader who said: "No person is illegal." Another commented:"Everyone deserves to have dreams." These represent the standard default arguments condoning illegal behavior.
Be that as it may, the reality is that resentment toward me for using "illegal alien" is misdirected. I didn't coin the term and am powerless to remove it from common vernacular.
Those irate readers who wish to protest "illegal aliens" as terminology should contact the federal government to ask that the words be removed from the U.S. Code, Title 8, Section 1325 wherein it states that "improper entry by alien" occurs when:
"Any citizen of any country other than the United States who enters or attempts to enter the United States at any time or place other than as designated by immigration officers; or eludes examination or inspection by immigration officers; or attempts to enter or obtains entry to the United States by a willfully false or misleading representation or the willful concealment of a material fact."
When "illegal alien" is deleted from the official U.S. website that defines immigration policy, I'll stop using it in my columns.
In the meantime, I suspect that my critics would like me to substitute "undocumented immigrant" for "illegal alien".
But if I acquiesced, I'd have to compromise my journalism standards. According to my fully revised and updated Associated Press Stylebook, "illegal"—not "undocumented"—is the correct word to describe "a violation of the law."
And my New York Times Manual of Style and Usage states flatly: "Do not use the euphemism 'undocumented'".
Although "undocumented immigrant" has only two words, both of them are improperly applied. The phrase is intended, often successfully, to mislead the uninformed.
Most—perhaps all—who enter the United States either have or quickly obtain documents. But the documents are often stolen, forged or useless in terms of their genuine value as real identification.
The most glaring example is Mexico's matricula consular card, so easily obtained that I have one even though I'm not Mexican and did not have to provide a shred of evidence to prove who I am. The only thing I had to show was $25.00.
And an "immigrant" is a person who enters the U.S. with a valid visa through a recognized port of entry.
In short, a so-called "undocumented immigrant" is neither undocumented nor an immigrant.
The message from my adversaries to me is this: as long as I feel compelled to tell the whole story, they'd prefer it if I kept my mouth shut.
Sadly when the subject is immigration, the truth is a lightning rod.
JOENOTE TO VDARE.COM readers: I'm sure you picked up on the irony that the New York Times officially discourages using "undocumented immigrant"—even though in practice the term routinely appears in its stories and editorials.
Joe Guzzardi [email him] is a California native who recently fled the state because of over-immigration, over-population and a rapidly deteriorating quality of life. He has moved to Pittsburgh, PA where the air is clean and the growth rate stable. A long-time instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School, Guzzardi has been writing a weekly column since 1988. It currently appears in the Lodi News-Sentinel.