On Tuesday, Rep. Ilhan Omar attacked President Trump for referring to illegal immigrants as illegal aliens, tweeting, “No one is an ‘alien.’” She continued by attacking the Department of Justice, writing, “The DOJ now mandates that public officials only use the term ‘illegal aliens.’ This is straight out of the demagogue’s playbook.” Finally she concluded by quoting an official of Human Rights Watch asserting, “The word illegal alone, in the context of immigration, casts a dark and misleading cloud implying that immigrants who cross a border without authorization have no rights.”
Omar apparently is unaware that the U.S Code consistently refers to illegal immigrants as “aliens,” and so Trump and the Department of Justice are simply echoing the language of the U.S. Code. But let’s begin at the beginning.
The series of incidents began with Trump tweeting on Monday evening of ICE’s plans to remove illegal immigrants:
Next week ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States. They will be removed as fast as they come in. Mexico, using their strong immigration laws, is doing a very good job of stopping people long before they get to our Southern Border. Guatemala is getting ready to sign a Safe-Third Agreement. The only ones who won’t do anything are the Democrats in Congress. They must vote to get rid of the loopholes, and fix asylum! If so, Border Crisis will end quickly!
Tuesday morning, Omar went on her rampage, starting by pronouncing “No one is an alien” and ending by quoting Dreisen Heath, Human Rights’ Senior Coordinator in the United States program, who wrote that the word “illegal” implied that illegal immigrants “have no rights.”
No one is an “alien.” This is family separation on a massive scale. Dehumanizing immigrants and tearing apart families will not make us any stronger. It will only destroy lives, traumatize children, and make our country less safe. To the trolls: Trump uses dehumanizing language like “aliens” “illegals” or even “animals” to justify horrific human rights abuses against migrants. The DOJ now mandates that public officials only use the term “illegal aliens.” This is straight out of the demagogue’s playbook. “The word illegal alone, in the context of immigration, casts a dark and misleading cloud implying that immigrants who cross a border without authorization have no rights.”
And here are some examples from the U.S. Code:
Voting by aliens
(a) It shall be unlawful for any alien to vote in any election held solely or in part for the purpose of electing a candidate for the office of President, Vice President, Presidential elector, Member of the Senate, Member of the House of Representatives, Delegate from the District of Columbia, or Resident Commissioner, unless-
(1) the election is held partly for some other purpose;
(2) aliens are authorized to vote for such other purpose under a State constitution or statute or a local ordinance; and
(3) voting for such other purpose is conducted independently of voting for a candidate for such Federal offices, in such a manner that an alien has the opportunity to vote for such other purpose, but not an opportunity to vote for a candidate for any one or more of such Federal offices.
Improper time or place; avoidance of examination or inspection; misrepresentation and concealment of facts
Any alien who (1) enters or attempts to enter the United States at any time or place other than as designated by immigration officers, or (2) eludes examination or inspection by immigration officers, or (3) attempts to enter or obtains entry to the United States by a willfully false or misleading representation or the willful concealment of a material fact, shall, for the first commission of any such offense, be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than 6 months, or both, and, for a subsequent commission of any such offense, be fined under title 18, or imprisoned not more than 2 years, or both.
(b)Improper time or place; civil penalties. Any alien who is apprehended while entering (or attempting to enter) the United States at a time or place other than as designated by immigration officers shall be subject to a civil penalty of—
(1) at least $50 and not more than $250 for each such entry (or attempted entry); or
(2) twice the amount specified in paragraph (1) in the case of an alien who has been previously subject to a civil penalty under this subsection.
Civil penalties under this subsection are in addition to, and not in lieu of, any criminal or other civil penalties that may be imposed.
Reimbursement of States
Subject to the amounts provided in advance in appropriation Acts, the Attorney General shall reimburse a State for the costs incurred by the State for the imprisonment of any illegal alien or Cuban national who is convicted of a felony by such State. (b)Illegal aliens convicted of a felonyAn illegal alien referred to in subsection (a) is any alien who is any alien convicted of a felony who is in the United States unlawfully and—(1) whose most recent entry into the United States was without inspection, or (2)whose most recent admission to the United States was as a nonimmigrant and—(A) whose period of authorized stay as a nonimmigrant expired, or (B) whose unlawful status was known to the Government, before the date of the commission of the crime for which the alien is convicted.