In watching CSPAN airing one of the House Judiciary Committee Hearings on immigration reform following the murder of Kate Steinle, it became abundantly clear that we are not all speaking the same language.
Occasionally, the term “illegal immigrant” was used. But most of the speakers simply referred to “immigrants” when they were clearly speaking about illegal aliens… NOT people who had come through the legal channels of immigration.
All expressed outrage at the brokenness of our immigration system. But without a common vocabulary, it’s doubtful that we will ever arrive at a solution.
Take Rep. Luis Gutierrez from Illinois. Here is what he said about the illegal immigrant who murdered Ms. Steinle:
“This man is not an immigrant. Immigrants come here to work hard, sweat and toil. We should be warm and receiving. This man is a foreigner who has come to cause damage. Let’s fix our broken immigration system so we can get rid of foreigners that come here to cause damage, harm and welcome immigrants.”
Let that sink in for a minute. I guess he thinks that “immigrants” cannot be criminals. He has no idea what the plain and simple meaning of “immigrant” is, otherwise, he would not have said what he did. And I doubt sending him a dictionary with the page marked will change his mind. He calls the murderer a “foreigner,” which is true. But he is also an “immigrant”… an ILLEGAL one and he became a criminal the instant he crossed the U.S. border.
One thing I can agree with Rep. Gutierrez about is that we should receive immigrants with a warm welcome… immigrants who have honored our laws and followed the legal process to immigrate here… NOT those who have broken laws in the process of immigrating.
Photo credit Library of Congress video still