Immigration Law

Recent Posts

Stop Calling People 'Aliens'
Posted on 28 May 2013 by Daniel M. Kowalski

"The use of the word “illegal” to describe non-citizens who are present in the United States without authorization is finally beginning to die a much-deserved death, at least in the mainstream press. ... Despite this trend, the term “alien”... Read More

Tags: shannon , illegal , alien

Call them 'unauthorized'
Posted on 15 Nov 2011 by Daniel M. Kowalski

The Texas Tribune, a 100% digital, online news outlet, asked me to write a column on the language wars. Here's my take . For an opposing view, click here . - Texas Tribune, Nov. 15, 2011 . Read More

Words Matter
Posted on 19 Mar 2012 by Daniel M. Kowalski

" My Grandma referred to African Americans as "nigros", which I thought was appallingly close to a really bad word and mortified me every time she said it. At first I cut her some slack, allowing for the fact that she was an older... Read More

Book: Living "Illegal" - The Human Face of Unauthorized Immigration
Posted on 6 Oct 2011 by Daniel M. Kowalski

"Today’s polarized debates over immigration revolve around a set of one-dimensional characters and unchallenged stereotypes. Yet the resulting policy prescriptions, not least of them Arizona’s draconian new law SB 1070, are dangerously... Read More

JAV to AP, NYT: Drop the I-Word!
Posted on 22 Sep 2012 by Daniel M. Kowalski

"Starting today, a non-profit founded by Jose Antonio Vargas, a journalist, activist, and undocumented immigrant, will begin monitoring the use of the phrase "illegal immigrant" in the media, with the goal of shifting the conversation around... Read More

Conn. pubs drop the I-Word
Posted on 9 Nov 2011 by Daniel M. Kowalski

"We took an overdue step at the New Haven Register , Middletown Press and Register Citizen on Thursday and instructed reporters and editors to stop using the terms “illegal aliens” and “illegal immigrants.” We’ll... Read More

Associated Press declines dropping the I-Word
Posted on 6 Nov 2011 by Daniel M. Kowalski

"The Associated Press has updated its stylebook entry on 'illegal immigrant,' rejecting once again the 'undocumented' term recommended by the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, but approving 'living in the country... Read More

Linguists Tell New York Times 'Illegal' Neither 'Neutral' Nor 'Accurate'
Posted on 2 Oct 2012 by Daniel M. Kowalski

"In response to the Associated Press and The New York Times' continued use of the term "illegal immigrant", a group of linguists have taken a stand, arguing that the phrase "illegal immigrant" isn't as neutral or accurate... Read More

Memo to Journalists / Editors: Drop the I-Word
Posted on 14 Dec 2011 by Daniel M. Kowalski

"The U.S. Supreme Court has come a long way since former Chief Justice William Rehnquist referred to undocumented immigrants as "wetbacks." In an opinion earlier this year on another Arizona immigration law, Chief Justice John Roberts,... Read More

Language Wars: Univision vs. New York Times
Posted on 9 Oct 2012 by Daniel M. Kowalski

"Jose Antonio Vargas may have reenergized the debate over whether to use the term “illegal immigrant,” but Univision’s taking it to a whole new level. The nation's top-rated Spanish-language broadcast network took The New York... Read More

Immigration Egregore: The "Illegal Immigrant" Slur
Posted on 9 Jul 2012 by Daniel M. Kowalski

"I join the fray and ask: Is illegal immigrant a " stinking rose ?" Is it an ad hominem attack on Latinos like the now quaint but still non-PC terms, "d-a-g-o"* or "wop," or "paddy" or "mick," used... Read More

Wanted: New 'Birds of Passage'
Posted on 17 Jul 2012 by Daniel M. Kowalski

" We divide newcomers into two categories: legal or illegal, good or bad. We hail them as Americans in the making, or brand them as aliens fit for deportation. That framework has contributed mightily to our broken immigration system and the long... Read More

Call Them 'Unauthorized'
Posted on 28 Feb 2012 by Daniel M. Kowalski

"Whether we use the word illegal or unauthorized, alien or migrant, or whether we call it a banana , the only thing that matters is whether, and when, we enact meaningful, and comprehensive, immigration reform . Toward that end, let's use language... Read More

Editor's Corner: If 'Unauthorized' is Good Enough for the Supreme Court...
Posted on 8 Jul 2012 by Daniel M. Kowalski

Charles Garcia says the phrase "illegal immigrant" is a slur . Ruben Navarrette disagrees . The Supreme Court and I take a different tack altogether. In Arizona et al. v. United States , the majority opinion consistently uses the term "unauthorized"... Read More

The I-Word, Inching Toward Retirement
Posted on 29 Sep 2012 by Daniel M. Kowalski

"Maybe Mr. Vargas and others will succeed in driving out “illegal.” It won’t be the first time a word has become defunct through misuse or changing times. ... But a change in usage won’t necessarily change hearts. As the linguist... Read More