Here’s an interesting take from the Ivory Tower on the current controversy over illegal immigration: “Undocumented may be the most decent word that’s available to us, but something was lost in that translation too,” Stanford professor Geoffrey Nunberg [send him mail] lwrites in the summer 2006 edition of the magazine Rethinking Schools. “It isn’t that undocumented adds a bureaucratic note, but that it focuses on the government’s records rather than the immigrants themselves.”
“Visitors who overstay their visas may not be undocumented in the strict sense of the term, which is why the INS [Immigration and Naturalization Service] ultimately decided to stay with ‘illegal.’”
Dr. Nunberg is a senior researcher at the Center for the Study of Language and Information at Stanford and is also a full professor of Linguistics at that university. He originally delivered these observations on National Public Radio.
“But these people are still without papers in the more suggestive European sense, people who have to live without any official status in the shadow of a modern state,” Dr. Nunberg observes. “Aliens, illegals, even undocumented—over the past hundred years, it has been in the nature of the language of immigration to suppress the human side of the story.”
Yet language can’t wholly obscure those realities.”
Kline goes on to list some of the other realities, familiar to readers of Vdare.com. (He includes a link to the Townhall.com version of Michelle Malkin's April 26 column, The Victims Of Illegal Immigration. Unfortunately, the link is broken, because with the Townhall redesign, all of their old links are broken. Aargh.
There are couple of things wrong with this article, aside from the bad link, which is not Kline's fault.
Why am I mentioning these things? Because if you donated, that's what you're paying me, (and everyone else here) for. Fact-checking, linking, interactivity, and all that good stuff. In fact, since many of you have donated, I'll even provide some multimedia: Nunberg's appearance reading this piece on Fresh Air.
But don't, for goodness sake, donate to NPR. Donate where it might do some good.