The student government at the University of California at Berkeley student government has banned the term “illegal immigrant,” citing its implicit racism and negative cultural associations.
Considered one of the Nation’s top public universities, a place of free intellectual discourse where boundless freedom exists for ideas to flourish or die on their own merits, Berkeley’s student government nonetheless will not officially countenance use of “the I-word” in academic writing or in communications between faculty, students and staff.
The university is the second California school to ban “illegal immigrant” this year; the University of California at Los Angeles student government passed a similar resolution over the summer.
Berkeley’s student government voted 18-0 to ban the term, with one student senator abstaining because he felt the resolution was toothless and unenforceable, and that supporters of the measure on campus had not afforded its opponents the respect they themselves were demanding.
According to The College Fix, which obtained minutes of the SGA meeting, the resolution “stated the word ‘illegal’ is ‘racially charged,’ ‘dehumanizes’ people, and contributes to ‘punitive and discriminatory actions aimed primarily at immigrants and communities of color.’ The ‘I’ word is legally inaccurate since being out of status is a civil rather than criminal infraction,” the resolution also states.