Those who would change a culture corrupt its language, particularly by hiding the reality of an evil they desire behind a less revealing name. — Politics and the English Language, George Orwell.
I thought about Orwell’s quote when I recently caught an exchange between two friends and fellow CNN contributors on the terms we use in discussing illegal immigration. One of them, Charles Garcia, had written that the phrase “illegal immigrant” is “biased” and “racially offensive”, also implying that it is a “slur” and invoking Orwell with the term a “worn-out and useless phrase”. His friend, Ruben Navarette, responded that the term is none of these; rather, the term is an accurate representation of reality, however difficult it is for some people to accept.
Further, Navarette rightly adds that those who have trouble with the term are really bothered by something deeper–the fact that, in the final analysis, by supporting a pathway to earned legal status, they are defending a group of people who engaged in unlawful activity.
So where does this position our chief law enforcement officer? Very simply, the President compounds the original lawlessness by concocting schemes that involve selectivity of enforcement and instructing the Department of Homeland Security to no longer enforce immigration laws against illegal immigrants who meet certain criteria, mainly those between the ages of 16-30 who meet other criteria, referring to them as “Americans for all intents and purposes”. Really?
And if you read the Supreme Court decision in Arizona vs. United States, this was exactly the point in the 8-0 decision by the Court to allow Arizona police to verify the legal status of people who come into contact with law enforcement, which the Obama administration had argued was in conflict with “its enforcement priorities” in spite of its compliance with federal law. Amazingly, the administration’s response to this decision was even more lawlessness, when it announced that it would suspend cooperation with Arizona on immigration enforcement.
Arizona should be prepared for an onslaught from swarms of attorneys watching every move of law enforcement officials for the slightest bobble in the way in which there newly confirmed authority is implemented.
Meanwhile, Mitt Romney responded to all of this very tepidly, simply saying that Obama is advancing temporary stopgap measures in lieu of leadership on a long-term solution. True, but he should be much bolder, and here again we see the intimidation of the left, which knows that conservatives will pander and moderate on this issue because of fear of perceived political damage in the Hispanic community. This is a misguided path that accepts the view of the left that the Hispanic community is a monolithic special interest group rather than fellow citizens who should be dealt with as such with bold provisions for a long-term solution, while scoring Obama for undermining the rule of law.