The political left is obsessed with wordplay and the manipulation of definitions, this much is clear. From their point of view, words are power because words have influence; that is to say, they think if they can control words they can also control perception, control the law and ultimately control the public. This tactic may be somewhat delusional in that it assumes the public has no ability to discern nuance, but they have had some success with it in decades past so they stick with what they know.
In terms of illegal immigration, leftists have long sought to change the American vocabulary. Specifically, they have for years tried to remove the word “illegal” from discourse. You can call them refugees, you can call them undocumented, you can call them asylum seekers, but you can’t call them illegal. For a short time (between 2016-2020) using the term “illegal immigrant” was considered cause to demonitize YouTube commentators or get user accounts locked on social media.
The tide has turned back on open borders advocates in the past few years with woke ideology widely exposed as a political cult (according to recent polls the majority of Americans view illegal immigration as an invasion). This has compelled leftists to try a different angle, in which they use narrow legal categories as a means to muddy the waters on immigrants.
This method involves the use of asylum status as a modifier – In other words, if an illegal immigrant declares they require asylum, regardless of evidence that they actually qualify, they are automatically “legal.” Therefore, the millions of people that sneak across the US border every year while breaking numerous federal and state laws are absolved through the magical baptism of asylum status.
By extension, leftists are asserting that these migrants are no different from the honorable foreign applicants who go through normal and traditionally legal immigration channels. This is the same argument Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez makes in the following hearing on migrant work permits in New York.
Asylum seekers in New York City are here LEGALLY.
If migrants are in imminent danger, they have the right under U.S. law to seek asylum here. pic.twitter.com/I1ZMRHnWz1
— Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@RepAOC) September 27, 2023
AOC is wrong for multiple reasons. According to federal regulation, anyone who crosses the border illegally is subject to criminal prosecution. As is the case in criminal proceedings – regardless of the immigration status of the criminal offender – the individual being prosecuted will be transferred to federal criminal custody for breaking United States law. Asylum or DACA status does not automatically protect an illegal immigrant from prosecution or deportation under the law. They are still, in fact, illegal immigrants until a court reviews their case and deems they have cause.
Options like asylum and DACA are loopholes in the normal legal framework that allow migrants to defer potential prosecution, and Democrats have facilitated the abuse of these loopholes. The immigration laws have not changed, the Biden Administration chooses not to enforce them and blue states choose to interfere with immigration enforcement. In fact, Biden has been actively using Border Patrol agents and the National Guard, not to catch and arrest migrants slipping into the US, but to process them and relocate them into the US faster.
Asylum status requires court review, and with record numbers of migrants crossing the border each year (2.76 million in 2022 and 2023 is set to surpass that number) the wait time is two years to as long as four years. In the meantime, Democrats are trying to achieve general amnesty for millions of embedded illegals, giving them access to welfare programs, giving them access to state licenses and work permits and in the end making their status review meaningless.
Furthermore, the definition if legality is not subject to politically correct filters. It does not matter if the word “illegal” upsets some sensitive people. If you walk into almost any country in the world without going through the citizenship process then you are breaking the law, and yes, you are an illegal person in that nation. This is not “racially charged” language – It does not matter what color of skin the person has. Legal immigration and the vetting of potential citizens exists for a reason; it prevents dangerous persons from mixing into the population, it prevents economic destabilization that often follows modern mass migrations and it prevents the sabotage of the existing culture by foreign elements with the intent of taking over instead of assimilating.
Changing the words and definitions does not change the effects. AOC knows this, she just doesn’t care. Meanwhile, New York progressives are getting a taste of their own medicine as tens of thousands of illegal migrants bus into the “sanctuary city” and they are not happy about it.
🚨BREAKING: Rep. Jerry Nadler, AOC and other Democratic congress members press conference in New York City doesn’t go as planned as people shout “Close the Border” and demand action.
— Ian Jaeger (@IanJaeger29) September 15, 2023