A public education campaign wants the word “illegal” to be filed away under the annals of hate speech. With the rally cry “No Human Being Is Illegal,” Drop the I-Word is hoping that citizens and immigrants alike will be more accepting of each other.
The campaign believes: “‘Illegals’ is a racially charged slur used to dehumanize and discriminate against immigrants and people of color regardless of migratory status. The i-word is shorthand for ‘illegal alien,’ ‘illegal immigrant’ and other harmful terms.”
The campaign states: “We call on media outlets and elected officials to uphold reason, due process and responsible speech by dropping the i-word.”
The site contains pictures and stories from people of all nationalities. One representative, identified as Sonia, prefers to be called “undocumented.” Her argument for the abolition of the word “illegal” includes this:
Many times, when I am asked who I am, I respond with “I am undocumented.” I haven’t always identified as undocumented. …No one comes to this country because they want to be exploited, and treated less than human. No one migrates to this country and wants to identify as “illegal”. …I always knew that I was undocumented, but I trusted there was a fair system that would fix that up. …I stand with the undocumented youth across the states because we are beautiful amazing leaders. …They and I are not “illegals”. I am undocumented, unafraid and unapologetic.