Immigration issues have been very much on the agenda across Europe in the past few years. As you know, I follow the subject very closely in relation to Greece. I am not an expert but I do have opinions on the issues like many others.
I would like to raise a question today about descriptions. The word “illegal” is so deeply entwined with “immigrant” that we rarely question it. But I want to ask how can a person be illegal ? A person can cross the border without papers but that person is not illegal. Maybe he/she is here illegally. Maybe he/she is undocumented. Maybe he/she is without papers. Maybe he/she is seeking asylum… but he/she is not illegal as a human being.
It has got to the point though, where we have connected the words so strongly that when we hear the word “immigrant”, we often make a subconscious link to the word “illegal”. Please read brownfemipower who has spoken more eloquently than anyone on subject of the criminalization of language.
Today, I would just like you to think about how the word “illegal’ being constantly attached to the word “immigrant” affects how you feel about the issues. And then do a leap. Think about how a different description might subtly change your opinion. Think about how describing a person as a person rather than an “illegal”, makes someone real rather than another problem.
I am very interested to know how you feel about this because it really bothers me.