Publisher's Note: One of the most significant things you can do to promote Liberty is to support our mission. Please make your gift to the 2022 Independence Day Campaign today. Thank you! —Mark Alexander, Publisher

Hans von Spakovsky / September 7, 2017

Andrea Mitchell Is Wrong About the Term ‘Illegal Aliens’

In her “reporting” on the ending of the DACA program, Andrea Mitchell of MSNBC asserted that Attorney General Jeff Sessions was wrong to use the term “illegal alien,” which she deemed both “offensive” and “not correct.” But “illegal alien” is in fact the correct legal term.

In her “reporting" on the ending of the DACA program, Andrea Mitchell of MSNBC asserted that Attorney General Jeff Sessions was wrong to use the term "illegal alien,” which she deemed both “offensive” and “not correct.” But “illegal alien” is in fact the correct legal term.

In footnote two of federal Judge Andrew Hanen’s February 16, 2015, opinion in which he enjoined the implementation of President Obama’s DAPA program, Hanen explained that he would be using the phrases “illegal immigrant” and “illegal alien” interchangeably in his order. While “a certain segment of the population” might find that phrase offensive, “the Court uses this term because it is the term used by the Supreme Court in its latest pronouncement pertaining to this area of the law.”

The U.S. Supreme Court pronouncement that Hanen was referring to was Arizona v. United States, 567 U.S. 387 (2012). That case dealt with an Arizona law that, among other things, required state and local law enforcement to check the immigration status of individuals they stop, detain, or arrest if they have a reasonable suspicion the individual is in the country illegally. In an opinion written by Justice Anthony Kennedy that was joined by the liberal justices (except for Elena Kagan, who was recused from the case), that particular provision of the Arizona law was upheld, although other provisions were thrown out.

As Judge Hanen says, the Arizona opinion is replete with the term “illegal alien.” It is used close to a dozen times in the main opinion and the concurring (and partial dissents) by Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito. In fact, the main opinion cites an official report on “Immigration Enforcement Action: 2010” published by the Department of Homeland Security that discusses the “identification, apprehension, and removal of illegal aliens from the United States” (emphasis added).

The correct legal term is “illegal alien,” despite Andrea Mitchell’s protestations to the contrary. The politically correct term “undocumented immigrant” that she and others insist on using is a made-up term used by progressive groups and media sources to extinguish the line between legal immigrants and illegal aliens. That makes it easier for them to claim that anyone who wants our immigration laws enforced is “anti-immigrant.”

As civil-rights icon Barbara Jordan (who chaired Bill Clinton’s Commission on Immigration Reform) aptly said, “We disagree with those who would label efforts to control immigration as being inherently anti-immigrant. It is both a right and responsibility for a democratic society to manage immigration so it serves the national interest…. Unless this country does a better job in curbing illegal immigration, we risk irreparably undermining our commitment to legal immigration.”


Republished from The Heritage Foundation.

Start a conversation using these share links:

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!

★ PUBLIUS ★

“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2022 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.