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Paper is such an interesting thing. We put words and “meaning” on to it, and fold it into letters, symbols, and *flowers*. Seeing the paper flowers and my lavender side by side shows me how the mind turns symbols into things. When they are simply symbols. For no matter the words put on the paper or how cleverly folded, the thing in its truest sense shall never be a flower, but a piece of paper. The flower itself needs not be folded a certain way, it doesn’t need a word written on it or a clever hand to mold it into what it is; it is by its very essence a flower, and there is nothing to be done, but to call it beautiful and whole.
“It is factually incorrect to refer to people as illegal. It is grammatically incorrect to refer to people as illegal. It is dehumanizing to refer to people as illegal. People may be undocumented, people may have entered the US without inspection, people may be living in the US without authorization, but none of those people are illegal. Although it is not technically incorrect to refer to the way someone entered the country as illegal, if they did so without inspection, using the word ‘illegal’ in reference to immigration only serves to perpetuate the idea that migrants are criminals. In this context, the actions which violate criminal law may be referred to as ‘unlawful.’ This term remains factually correct but does not impose criminality on migrants. Additionally, just because something is unlawful does not mean it is immoral; just because something is unlawful does not mean it is just to dehumanize people.
This conversation is greater than referring to people as illegal aliens or referring to the way someone enters the US as legal or illegal. This conversation includes all of the language used to refer to migrants and immigration. There is no ‘right way’ to come to the US; there is no ‘line’ to get in the back of; there is no “good immigrant” and there is no ‘bad immigrant.’ The laws in the US dictating immigration force some people to wait for decades before they can be reunited with their families. These laws punish asylum seekers who flee violence and persecution. These laws pit some immigrants against others. The good immigrant/bad immigrant dichotomy does nothing other than continue to impose criminality on undocumented Americans and require immigrants to work harder than US born citizens to be worthy of their place in the country, through things such as academic accomplishments. Immigration attorneys, activists, and politicians in particular must be aware of the importance of using the appropriate language so as to not continue to dehumanize fellow Americans or continue to embolden racists and their hateful rhetoric.”
(source: Words Matter: No Human Being is Illegal: https://lawblogs.uc.edu/ihrlr/2019/05/20/words-matter-no-human-being-is-illegal/)
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