Immigration rights group United We Dream (UWD) is up in arms over President Barack Obama's speech at the 50th Anniversary Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King's March on Washington. During his speech Wednesday, Obama referred to some immigrants as "illegal," a word that many say is incorrectly used and fosters anti-immigrant sentiment.
In the speech, President Obama accused some politicians of scoring political points by telling their constituents that "distant bureaucrats were taking their hard-earned dollars to benefit the welfare cheat or the illegal immigrant."
However, the use of the term "illegal immigrant," even in the context the President was using, reinforces the stereotype that any undocumented immigrant can be called "illegal." After his speech, United We Dream posted a photo of Obama with the phrase "Drop the I-Word!" on their Facebook page. They also stated "Today during his speech on March on Washington, Barack Obama used the word 'illegal' to refer to undocumented immigrants. President Obama: NO HUMAN IS ILLEGAL!"
As the debate over immigration reform has intensified in recent years, the terms used have come under greater scrutiny. The Associated Press recently dropped the use of the term "illegal" to describe undocumented immigrants, which is the legally correct move. The legality of an immigrant's residency status, regardless of how they entered, cannot be determined until an immigration judge has ruled in a case or an immigration official has issued a finding.
Victor Medina writes for Yahoo News and his political blog WhenLiberalsAttack.com. His other writing credits include The Dallas Morning News and SportsIllustrated.com. He has served as a Dallas County election judge and on the Board of Directors of The Sixth Floor Museum. You can follow him on his blog, VictorMedina.com or on Twitter at @mrvictormedina. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here to receive a weekly email update from WhenLiberalsAttack.com. To be notified of future stories by Victor Medina, click the SUBSCRIBE link at the top of this page.