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Author Topic: Liberal Immigration Strategy
Fenring
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http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/clinton-admits-calling-immigrants-illegal-was-poor-choice-words?cid=sm_fb_msnbc

This article describes how Hillary intends to alter her language in regard to the immigration issue many candidates are addressing:

quote:
Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton admitted Tuesday that her recent use of the term “illegal immigrants” was “a poor choice of words,” and pledged to stop using the word “illegal” when referring to immigrants.
My question predominantly addresses people here who consider themselves to be liberals. Do you think Hillary's change of terms in regards to the immigration issue will be a net benefit or net loss for liberals and for the Democratic party?

On the one hand Hillary wants to distance herself from the anti-immigrant rhetoric coming from certain Republican candidates, which makes sense. She also wants to appear to be sympathetic to the idea of people who contribute to America even though they don't have legal status or citizenship. We could see how this would create support for her on the left.

On the other hand by refraining from using the word "illegal" in regards to immigrants is seems like Hillary is dismissing illegal immigration as being a real concern, and is also dismissing the relevance to the issue of certain people in the U.S. who work without proper papers. From the perspective of people who suspect that Democrats don't actually care about enforcing immigration law, does this not play right into their suspicions and seemingly confirm that they were right? Naturally Hillary doesn't expect to gain support from staunch conservatives anyhow, but I'm sure there are Democrat voters out there who do care about illegal immigrants or at least care about providing legitimate avenues to improve immigration without throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Do you think this change of language will benefit Hillary (and indirectly the image of Democrats), or cause a net negative effect instead? I'll decline to ask what you think about the moral implications of her statement since a) I don't think those are relevant to her strategy decisions, and b) I don't want the thread to devolve into a partisan argument about whether or not Democrats care about the law.

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Pete at Home
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We could always distinguish the "document-impaired" immigrants who came here legally then overstayed their visas from those 33% of illegals who entered illegally.
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DonaldD
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I think you need to distinguish between those people who care enough about the choice of wording that it would significantly affect their vote, and those people who don't.

The people who are angered sufficiently by this particular word choice that it would cause them to vote against anybody doing so are generally if not universally already unlikely to vote anything but a Republican candidate.

Whereas there may be more upside to making this word choice among those sympathetic to the sentiment Clinton is presumably espousing - eventually, the Republican candidate will need to begin appealing to Hispanics, and Clinton laying the groundwork now will make the required outreach that much more difficult, or the path back from their primary position that much longer.

Not to mention that the more outreach the eventual Republican candidate is forced to make towards Hispanics, the more they risk alienating a portion of their own base, one that won't vote Democrat anyway, but one which might be dissuaded from voting if they become disenchanted with the soft on immigration perception that will come with any such outreach.

If Rubio, and to a lesser degree, Cruz, nab the candidacy, the Hispanic equation changes, of course - or at least, becomes less predictable.

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Fenring
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The swing vote is definitely an important area for consideration. But another group of voters that matter are Republicans who may not bother going out to vote. Positive aspects to a Republican candidate might get Republicans out to vote, but negative elements from a Democrat candidate can do that too. Of course since Hillary is already the devil to Republicans it's not clear whether they could possibly like her less, but in terms of rallying their base if they could claim - with some basis in her own language - that she doesn't intend to take illegal immigration seriously, it could bolster their own party support.
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DonaldD
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Any road the the White House for Republicans requires prying at least some women, Hispanics and blacks away from the Democrats, or at the very least dissuading them from voting for the democratic candidate. As was evident last go-round, the white male vote is no longer sufficient for the Republicans to win.

If the Republican candidate does not get a significant increase in Hispanic voters, or if they cannot successfully suppress the Democratic candidate's vote base, the Republican candidate loses, regardless of turnout (of course, if Clinton is caught on tape having sex with Elizabeth Warren's underage granddaughter, all bets are off).

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Rafi
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I disagree. It doesn't matter what Clinton does, she'll get the liberal votes. I truly cannot conceive of anything she might do that would cost her the votes of the democrat base.
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NobleHunter
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The same is true for whomever the GOP picks.

ETA: Worth noting that voting for Clinton could just as easily be voting against the GOP.

[ November 27, 2015, 01:11 PM: Message edited by: NobleHunter ]

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AI Wessex
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quote:
Originally posted by Rafi:
I disagree. It doesn't matter what Clinton does, she'll get the liberal votes. I truly cannot conceive of anything she might do that would cost her the votes of the democrat base.

It could cost her by them not voting, but it's very unlikely that a "natural" voter for either party would switch given how far apart the rhetoric and positions are.
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Greg Davidson
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quote:
I disagree. It doesn't matter what Clinton does, she'll get the liberal votes. I truly cannot conceive of anything she might do that would cost her the votes of the democrat base.
I think you are generally right on this Rafi, but over on DailyKos some of the talk is that chosing Hillary over any of the Republicans is merely choosing the lesser of two evils.
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Rafi
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quote:
Originally posted by NobleHunter:
The same is true for whomever the GOP picks.

ETA: Worth noting that voting for Clinton could just as easily be voting against the GOP.

Not really. The conservative vote has shown a willingness to split off in the past and is constantly making noise abou doing so again.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
My question predominantly addresses people here who consider themselves to be liberals. Do you think Hillary's change of terms in regards to the immigration issue will be a net benefit or net loss for liberals and for the Democratic party?

Switching to more accurate and respectful terminology is a net benefit for the discussion as a whole, regardless of any short term political benefit. I imagine she'll get a liit more respect from people that might otherwise be supporting Sanders or ano otherwise more liberal candidate by showing that she's actually paying attention to the issue enough to at least present herself as understanding how to talk about it in an accurate and respectful manner.
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
Switching to more accurate and respectful terminology is a net benefit for the discussion as a whole, regardless of any short term political benefit. I imagine she'll get a liit more respect from people that might otherwise be supporting Sanders or ano otherwise more liberal candidate by showing that she's actually paying attention to the issue enough to at least present herself as understanding how to talk about it in an accurate and respectful manner.

Setting aside for the moment that being respectful is a good thing in and of itself outside of the consideration of gain, you seem to be saying that by not using the term "illegal" she's being more accurate and showing greater understanding. Do you mean she's showing greater compassion? Or do you actually mean understanding? What is it that she understands that, say, Trump doesn't? And how is it more accurate to refrain from using the word "illegal" to refer to people who are in the U.S. illegally?

In answer to my question, your take on it is that she'll win points over Sanders with this. What about against Republicans candidates should she win the primary? After all she vowed to never use the term again, meaning she still won't in a general election? My main question is whether this will cost her in the long run, or help her, the morality of it aside.

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DJQuag
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quote:
Originally posted by Greg Davidson:
quote:
I disagree. It doesn't matter what Clinton does, she'll get the liberal votes. I truly cannot conceive of anything she might do that would cost her the votes of the democrat base.
I think you are generally right on this Rafi, but over on DailyKos some of the talk is that chosing Hillary over any of the Republicans is merely choosing the lesser of two evils.
That is pretty much how I feel as well. Clinton is a regular politician, a cog in the machine that, viewed from actually liberal places like Scandinavia and Europe, is barely distinguishable from her Republican counterparts.

I'm a Sanders guy, through and through. If and when Clinton wins the nomination, I'll vote for her whilst holding my nose.

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D.W.
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How do you even have a meaningful discussion about a path to citizenship or whatever if you don't even address the fact they are here illegally? I don't know if it helps or hurts her in the election but it seems ridiculous to me.

There is a difference between compassion and pretending they aren't breaking laws. If the president wants to lobby for changing existing laws fine but the office doesn't let you just wish away problems because it makes people uneasy to talk about.

Or... well... It shouldn't anyway.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Fenring:
Setting aside for the moment that being respectful is a good thing in and of itself outside of the consideration of gain, you seem to be saying that by not using the term "illegal" she's being more accurate and showing greater understanding. Do you mean she's showing greater compassion? Or do you actually mean understanding? What is it that she understands that, say, Trump doesn't?


How is Trump relevant? She is at least appearing to show more respect and understanding than _she_ had previously. It's possible Trump realizes and understands exactly how degrading and othering he's being and is choosing to be disrespectful, so he's not really relevant here.

quote:
And how is it more accurate to refrain from using the word "illegal" to refer to people who are in the U.S. illegally?
Because the word is being used to refer to _people_ not actions and conveys active judgment of them. The people are not "illegal" it's dehumanizing to conflate them with the fact that they've committed a procedural violation. You wouldn't call someone who was speeding "illegal", or even someone driving without a license. The activity is illegal, not the person, and any reference to them as if they were defined only by that one legal violation is judgmental and disrespectful. Great if you want to other them and paint them as a bogeyman to scare people, not so good if you actually want to show yourself as concerned about the issues that affect them and finding a real, humane solution to the problem.

quote:
In answer to my question, your take on it is that she'll win points over Sanders with this. What about against Republicans candidates should she win the primary?
A small effect there in that she'll attract a greater portion of the vote among citizens closely connected to the issue by showing respect for their family and friends where opponents continue to other them. Some of those people will be more willing to come to the olls at all because there's someone at least making it seem like hey get it, others will break democratic because when it comes down to a choice between higher order values that may align with conservatives and safety and security for their family and members of their community, they'll lean toward the latter in the short term. On the far end, she's not risking losing anyone, because anyone that might be put off because she's using respectful terminology are votes that she had no hope of courting in the first place, people that were just looking for more reasons to justify a vote against her.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by D.W.:
How do you even have a meaningful discussion about a path to citizenship or whatever if you don't even address the fact they are here illegally?

Who said that shouldn't be addressed? One does not have to call a person "illegal" in order to address the fact that they committed a legal violation in the past?

"Undocumented" addresses it just fine without resorting to being judgemental or confusing the person with the action.

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D.W.
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Maybe I misunderstood. Is she now going to say "illegal immigrants" in place of "illegals"? I can see how the shorthand can be seen as rude the way you outlined it.

You are right that "undocumented" could work. Seems ridiculous to me. One can try to change a law they don't agree with and at the same time use an accurate label which caries condemnation for breaking said law.

It's not about being judgmental. I don't care for my party (or the other) pretending the law doesn't matter when they don't agree with it.

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
How is Trump relevant? She is at least appearing to show more respect and understanding than _she_ had previously. It's possible Trump realizes and understands exactly how degrading and othering he's being and is choosing to be disrespectful, so he's not really relevant here.

You said this choice of language showed Hillary's understanding of the situation. I assume this means it shows that she has superior understanding to another candidate. I chose Trump for the comparison since he arguably has the worst record for speaking respectfully about illegal immigrants. I wanted to know how her language choice somehow means she understands more than Trump. But as you said, Trump can understand just fine and still choose to speak the way he does for whatever reasons. So it boils down to respect, then.

quote:
quote:
And how is it more accurate to refrain from using the word "illegal" to refer to people who are in the U.S. illegally?
Because the word is being used to refer to _people_ not actions and conveys active judgment of them. The people are not "illegal" it's dehumanizing to conflate them with the fact that they've committed a procedural violation. You wouldn't call someone who was speeding "illegal", or even someone driving without a license. The activity is illegal, not the person, and any reference to them as if they were defined only by that one legal violation is judgmental and disrespectful.
I think you may misunderstand what the term "illegals" means. It's shorthand for "illegal immigrants." If you want to call it "undocumented immigrants" then that's probably equivalent, since the law says you need the documents. But I think you've made a linguistic slip-up here and assume the word "illegal" refers to the immigrants themselves, which effectively means they're being called "illegal humans." That's not the case. It is the actual immigration procedure they used (or failed to use) that is being called "illegal," and so "illegal immigrants" is itself shorthand for "immigrants who used illegal procedure," which can include faking documents, ignoring expiration dates, or ignoring the immigration procedure itself (ignoring procedure is itself a procedural breach). It's their breach of procedure that is illegal, not their persons. It's weird to even have to explain this to you, but I guess it could colloquially sound like these people are being called "illegal" as some kind of stamp of judgement. That is just a misreading of what the term means. Now, I think some Americans absolutely do judge them negatively, but that has nothing to do with the term which simply indicates that they violated procedural immigration law.

[ November 30, 2015, 03:09 PM: Message edited by: Fenring ]

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by D.W.:
Maybe I misunderstood. Is she now going to say "illegal immigrants" in place of "illegals"? I can see how the shorthand can be seen as rude the way you outlined it.

Just to be clear, D.W., Hillary has vowed to stop using the term "illegal immigrants" altogether. I haven't found a source yet specifying whether she intends to replace that term with "undocumented immigrants" or something like that. If I had to guess I would suppose that she intends to not speak about the issue of people in the U.S. illegally at all, but rather would prefer to dress the issue as being one of compassion and understanding.

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/nov/25/hillary-clinton-pledges-not-to-use-term-illegal-immigrants-again

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D.W.
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Is it weird that I imagine Hillary rolling her eyes at a room full of advisors telling her she should use "undocumented immigrants" in its place, if she dares to mention the issue at all, and am reassured by that mental picture?

I really hate that the (assumed) stupidity of the electorate makes a position of upholding the law and compassion mutually exclusive.

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NobleHunter
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COnsidering how laws are made, I'm neither surprised nor upset by the idea that the law and compassion are in conflict.
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D.W.
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That's true, but not what I meant. Unless we are cool with dictatorship light, I'm not a fan of picking and choosing which of our laws are worth enforcing.

Change it, or enforce it. There shouldn't be a third way.

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NobleHunter
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Well, the government shouldn't be choosing. [partisan] Too bad Congress won't foot the bill to enforce all the laws it makes. There's going to be picking and choosing if only $50k is provided when there's $100k of enforcement to do (numbers are notional only).[/partisan]

Resisting and refusing the enforcement of a law is often the first step in change. Preferably, change would start with representatives of the government but it doesn't always work out that way.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
You said this choice of language showed Hillary's understanding of the situation. I assume this means it shows that she has superior understanding to another candidate.
As opposed to better than she had, herself, previously shown? After all we're talking about what's communicated by a change in her choice of words.

quote:
. It's weird to even have to explain this to you, but I guess it could colloquially sound like these people are being called "illegal" as some kind of stamp of judgement. That is just a misreading of what the term means.
No, it's not. It's pointing out how insulting and dehumanizing that particular construction is.

You did not need to explain things to me that I already understood, but thanks for being patronizing.

The use of judgmental terms in the process of reasoning you described is exactly the problem, because it takes words descriptive of actions and applies them to people, which, in turn affects the way people think and communicate about the issue.

quote:
Now, I think some Americans absolutely do judge them negatively, but that has nothing to do with the term which simply indicates that they violated procedural immigration law.
The use of judgmental terms conveys judgment and affects thinking regardless of your intent. Language matters. Judgmental shorthand is judgmental and contributes to the process of othering and alienating the people in question.

[ November 30, 2015, 03:59 PM: Message edited by: Pyrtolin ]

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
You said this choice of language showed Hillary's understanding of the situation. I assume this means it shows that she has superior understanding to another candidate.
As opposed to better than she had, herself, previously shown? After all we're talking about what's communicated by a change in her choice of words.
That's a clear point, which I hope you'll back up by agreeing that you are now asserting that Hillary's change in language here is the result of her having come to a new understanding about the situation of undocumented workers in America. Your point is that her change of language shows she better understands the plight of these people now, compared with two weeks ago. Do you have any evidence to back this up, other than her language change? Or are you going to cite the change in language itself as proof she understands better? Or is "understands" synonymous with changing language? By what basis do you discount the possibility that her language choice is purely a political maneuver to get support?

quote:
quote:
. It's weird to even have to explain this to you, but I guess it could colloquially sound like these people are being called "illegal" as some kind of stamp of judgement. That is just a misreading of what the term means.
No, it's not. [...] The use of judgmental terms in the process of reasoning you described is exactly the problem, because it takes words descriptive of actions and applies them to people, which, in turn affects the way people think and communicate about the issue.
So I take it from this you think the phrase "convicted killer" is nothing but a judgemental term taking a description of an action and applying it to a person? Is the part of the English language that assigns nouns to things people have done to be stricken from the vocabulary?
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Your point is that her change of language shows she better understands the plight of these people now, compared with two weeks ago.
No. My point is that it communicates that she does, even if she actually doesn't and is just doing it because her advisors told her to do it.

quote:
By what basis do you discount the possibility that her language choice is purely a political maneuver to get support?
I don't. You'd do better to not to make stuff up and then try to suggest that I said it.

I, in fact, noted above that it might be just that. But the effect is that she communicates a better understanding by using language that demonstrates more engagement with the issue and respect for the people involved.

quote:
So I take it from this you think the phrase "convicted killer" is nothing but a judgemental term taking a description of an action and applying it to a person?
Are you suggesting that someone could describe someone to you that way and you'd not make any judgements about them at all purely based on the phrase? Would you use it to describe someone that you wanted to communicate that you believed was falsely convicted, even though that's still technically the right shorthand?

Certainly it would be completely inappropriate to use in a context where it has no relevance or may perpetuate prejudices or disrespect.

quote:
Is the part of the English language that assigns nouns to things people have done to be stricken from the vocabulary?
That's a completely bizarre intuitive leap when going from trying to engage in a contentious matter and show respect fort he people involved to the use of language in general.

Why is there this obsession that people have with banning things that they don't like? (Or suggesting that other people who point out how something is problematic magically means that they want it to be banned?)

IF I don't make the argument "We should ban this" then it's rather dishonest to try to shove it into my mouth.

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Pete at Home
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"The people are not "illegal" it's dehumanizing to conflate them with the fact that they've committed a procedural violation. You wouldn't call someone who was speeding "illegal"

No, you call them "speeders" which does conflate them with theit infraction in exactly the same way.

"or even someone driving without a license."

Those I would call illegal drivers.

Look, I suspect I have done over 100 times as much to secure rights of undocumented immigrants than you have. And I assure you the stress of being called illegals is not the top of their worry list. Far better to get rid of inhumane sociopathic agents that are allowed to use sleep deprivation and thirst to torture illegals into surrendering their rights. Give more scrutiny to the kangaroo court of reviews that determines that such atrocities do for create "humanitarian concerns.". Prettying up what we call these human beings does not change the essentially sadistic bureaucracy that deals with them. Your objection is like lobbying the Nazi's to play more Jewish composers over the death camp loudspeakers.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
And I assure you the stress of being called illegals is not the top of their worry list.
Are you suggesting that anyone here is advocating better language as a primary solution, rather than simply a better way to engage with the issue?

If that's really your case, make it, otherwise you're concern trolling again. The context of the discussion is the effect that a change in language might have on a candidate who makes it, not a deeper dig into needed changes in our immigration policy.

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D.W.
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But is it really a better way? Isn't there a risk that by downplaying the fact that laws are being broken causes more harm? It's no secret that illegal immigrants are taken advantage of because of their status. Free with every American dream, one serving of blackmail!

By prettying it up you risk armchair liberals pretending all is well and that laws aren't REALY being broken. This is all some misunderstanding and our positive thoughts and attitudes can fix it!

Or, you could face the reality of the situation and try and get the system changed so heartless greedy bastards can't take advantage of someone because they broke our laws to sell themselves into low grade slavery, because that was still apparently better than their country can manage for them.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Isn't there a risk that by downplaying the fact that laws are being broken causes more harm?
Can you provide any evidence that it downplays the fact that laws are being broken? Are you suggesting that a significant number of people are unaware that it's illegal to enter the country without proper documentation?

I mean, should everyone that's ever broken the speeding limit be categorized as a speeder in their day to day lives, as their main identity? Everyone whose ever gotten a parking ticket be branded as an illegal parker? Referring to them as "someone who has received a traffic citation" doesn't gloss over the fact that they've been accused of an illegal action, but at the same time it respects their humanity instead of personally describing them as illegal.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
And I assure you the stress of being called illegals is not the top of their worry list.
Are you suggesting that anyone here is advocating better language as a primary solution, rather than simply a better way to engage with the issue?
No. I am suggesting that lobbying the Nazi's to play more Jewish composers over the death camp loudspeakers, is not a better way to engage the issue.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
And I assure you the stress of being called illegals is not the top of their worry list.
Are you suggesting that anyone here is advocating better language as a primary solution, rather than simply a better way to engage with the issue?
No. I am suggesting that lobbying the Nazi's to play more Jewish composers over the death camp loudspeakers, is not a better way to engage the issue.
Indeed. No one would argue that, and it's not relevant to the current conversation.

Are you trying to make a case that Clinton is not otherwise suggesting any reforms to the system and standing behind enforcing its current abusiveness? That would be a somewhat relevant counterargument that supports that metaphor as a way of suggesting that the change will be taken as purely superficial.

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D.W.
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If I had evidence, I wouldn't have asked if there was a risk. I would have made a case.

That you are conflating entering the country (or over staying) illegally with speeding and illegal parking is the point I was trying to make.

Oh, everyone does it. It's no big deal. Just an every day occurrence. Sure you may occasionally be fined or be inconvenienced by the police but that's it.

Now imagine your boss telling you they are going to pay you under the table and give you no benefits. If you don't keep your head down the police will find out you are a speeder. They are going out on a limb for you employing a speeder at all. You should be grateful and take whatever they offer.

They are NOT the same thing. You ARE defined by being an illegal immigrant.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
That you are conflating entering the country (or over staying) illegally with speeding and illegal parking is the point I was trying to make.
As legal violations, they are about on the same level, particularly to the degree that the laws are used to force people into violation in many cases (hidden speed zone changes that are used to rack up out-of-town fines)

quote:
They are NOT the same thing. You ARE defined by being an illegal immigrant.
No. The way your are treated is actively affected. Who you are as a person is not. If anything, the difference that you highlight emphasises the injustice through comparison to other similar violations rather than diminishing it.

And in either case, it does not justify using othering and alienating language when referring to them; calling them "illegal" helps to create a rational defense of mistreatment rather than emphasizing that just mistreatment is unjust.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
And I assure you the stress of being called illegals is not the top of their worry list.
Are you suggesting that anyone here is advocating better language as a primary solution, rather than simply a better way to engage with the issue?
No. I am suggesting that lobbying the Nazi's to play more Jewish composers over the death camp loudspeakers, is not a better way to engage the issue.
Indeed. No one would argue that.
I am relieved that you agree on me on that much.

" , and it's not relevant to the current conversation"

Yes, Pyr, but that's what you say to all the boys. You need to get an 8-ball with more response settings.

"Are you trying to make a case that Clinton is not otherwise suggesting any reforms to the system"

I have no idea what reforms Clinton has suggested, but if her proposals involve screening the bureaucracy for sadists and sociopaths, I will be very, very surprised.

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Pete at Home
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The parking and speeding analogies duck, Pyr. And the more exposure one has to the relevant systems of law enforcement, the more broken those arguments become.

With better analogies and better facts you can formulate a better argument against calling undocumented persons "illegals."

First of all most "illegals" did not CROSS the border illegally but overstayed a visa.

Second not everyone who crosses illegally is called an "illegal immigrant." Citizens who cross illegally are not immigrants, ergo not illegal immigrants. And persons who enter illegally then apply for asylum are not "illegal immigrants" either.

I agree that the term is damaging but find your argument flawed.

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D.W.
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quote:
And in either case, it does not justify using othering and alienating language when referring to them; calling them "illegal" helps to create a rational defense of mistreatment rather than emphasizing that just mistreatment is unjust.
Maybe this is why we have a rule against motive speculation. Because some people can get things incredibly and totally wrong and reach odd conclusions.

The language does not have intent. You are suggesting “illegal alien” or “illegal immigrant” or simply “illegals” are titles which exist to alienate and “other”. Their status alienates them and sets them apart. The title is an acknowledgement of that fact. That status is a sword dangling above their heads at all time. It is leverage for anyone who seeks to manipulate them. It makes them a scapegoat to all our fears and insecurities.

There is no justification taking place. Changing the label does not change the fact that they are apart from us and have concerns which influence how they see the country around them. It turns the mundane into treacherous. It turns every acquaintance into a possible oppressor. Calling them “document challenged” or “undocumented immigrants” or “non citizen residents” or whatever you want to come up with does not imbue them suddenly in anyone’s mind with further humanity and make them “one of us”.

I see this type of PC speak as the laziest most selfish back patting BS out there. It is beyond useless as it may very well make us lose focus on fixing a real and serious problem in our country.

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Pete at Home
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"The language does not have intent. You are suggesting “illegal alien” or “illegal immigrant” or simply “illegals” are titles which exist to alienate and “other”."

Did Pyr say intent? I thought that he meant effect.

Nevertheless, you make a compelling (and highly articulate, verging on poetic) argument when you say:

You are suggesting “illegal alien” or “illegal immigrant” or simply “illegals” are titles which exist to alienate and “other”. Their status alienates them and sets them apart. The title is an acknowledgement of that fact. That status is a sword dangling above their heads at all time. It is leverage for anyone who seeks to manipulate them. It makes them a scapegoat to all our fears and insecurities.

There is no justification taking place. Changing the label does not change the fact that they are apart from us and have concerns which influence how they see the country around them. It turns the mundane into treacherous. It turns every acquaintance into a possible oppressor. Calling them “document challenged” or “undocumented immigrants” or “non citizen residents” or whatever you want to come up with does not imbue them suddenly in anyone’s mind with further humanity and make them “one of us”.


If you learned to write like that in high school, count me impressed. Send my congrats to your writing teachers.

It also happens to be spot on true.

I personally try to say undocumented because like any word used to describe a hated word, the word itself gets carries accumulated baggage. But when debating about their rights, I find it's more effective sometimes to use the language of those I am speaking to, to the extent that the language is merely emotionally Laden rather than outright duplicitous. Illegals is a case of mere emotional ladeling. "Frozen embryos" would be an euxample of duplicity. Not every battle should be waged as semantics.

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D.W.
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The alienating language and othering inherent in your backhanded complement regarding my educationally challenged state as well as your defining my talent as the fruit of another's labor rather than my own is both hurtful and disrespectful Pete. [Razz]

You'll never make a viable candidate if you keep talking like that.

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Pete at Home
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Sorry. Once a professor, always a professor, I guess.
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