"Undocumented" - the latest euphemism

You would imagine that "undocumented" in relation to a resident's immigration status means that they are lacking a document that would prove their status. You would not, for instance, think that it meant that the reason for a lack of documentation was that they lacked the actual status. Unless, it seems, you are a notorious hippie reporter writing in the Guardian about immigrants in the USA:

Here in Charlotte, outside the convention center, ten brave souls, among them a young woman and her mother, a couple and their daughter, sat down in the pouring rain on a large banner they placed in the middle of the intersection. The banner read "No Papers, No Fear" (in Spanish, "Sin Papeles, Sin Miedo"), with a large butterfly in the center.
Hmm. The implication here is that the banner was written in Spanish; I believe that English is still the universal language of the USA. Why write your banner in Spanish if you're aiming at the bulk of USA voters?

There are quotes from undocumented citizens:

"I am undocumented. I've been living here for 18 years. I pay taxes, and I'm paying more taxes than Citibank."
Fascinating. What SSN is on his IRS form 1040? He'll need one, if he's to pay taxes. Where did he get it? Bet it wasn't from the IRS if he provided only authentic documentation. And, while we're at it, Citibank paid $3.5bn in income tax in 2011.

You can argue all you like about the various demented parts of the USA immigration laws, and the states' need for workers who are prepared to work at sub-minimum wage in the fields of the agricultural states, but let's not pussy around with terms like "undocumented". This could apply to children of illegal immigrants who were brought in to the USA by their parents, and bear no responsibility for their current status: it does not apply to their parents who came into the country in full knowledge of their illegal status.

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments are subject to retrospective moderation. I will only reject spam, gratuitous abuse, and wilful stupidity.