Chicago Tribune Offended by the Term ‘Illegal Alien’

From:,  by Bob Price,  on Jul 31, 2017

The Chicago Tribune is offended by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ use the term “illegal alien” when discussing sanctuary cities.

“In a democracy that values the rule of law, word choice is important, especially when those words come from voices of authority,” the Chicago Tribune wrote.

The Tribune is correct in what they said, but not in what they meant. Word choice is important, which is why the DOJ and the attorney general use the most legally accurate term when discussing illegal immigration and sanctuary cities.

“Alien” is a term used by the federal government to designate a person in the United States from a foreign country. The Internal Revenue Service defines an alien as “an individual who is not a U.S. citizen or U.S. national.” The same document defines “immigrant,” “nonimmigrant,” and “illegal alien.” Their definition for illegal alien is “an alien who has entered the United States illegally and is deportable if apprehended or an alien who entered the United States legally but now has fallen ‘out of status’ and is deportable.”

The Chicago Tribune chose to attack the DOJ for its use of the standard language for a person in the U.S. illegally.

“A not-so-subtle shift in word choice by the U.S. Department of Justice this week has largely gone unnoticed,” Chicago Tribune writer Todd Slowik wrote. “I’d like to call attention to it. I think it’s another sign of how quickly a ‘new normal’ is taking hold, regardless of foundation in facts or law.”

A “new normal” is not new at all. The definition of “illegal alien” has not been added to the governmental lexicon by the Trump Administration or Sessions. It has been in place for decades. In fact, while the Obama Administration attempted to apply political correctness to the term in general, they did not change the definition in any government manuals or regulations.

The writer laid out his case by chastising the DOJ’s use of the term he apparently considers offensive during a discussion about new conditions for the DOJ’s awarding of Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant programs.

During the announcement of the new restrictions, Sessions said, “So-called ‘sanctuary’ policies make all of us less safe because they intentionally undermine our laws and protect illegal aliens who have committed crimes.” The writer pointed out that Sessions used the phrase “illegal alien” not once, but three times.

Slowik wrote:

I thought it was odd that the nation’s top law enforcement agent repeatedly used a phrase that is loaded with implied guilt. For years, government officials, attorneys, media and others have avoided using the phrase — or at least acknowledged its implications — and used wording like “undocumented” or “unauthorized” instead.

For example, in the July 9, 2014, announcement, “Department of Justice Announces New Priorities to Address Surge of Migrants Crossing into the U.S.,” then-Deputy Attorney General James Cole chose such language as “migrants,” “asylum seekers” and “unaccompanied minors.”

Why does this matter? The phrase “illegal alien” plays into assumptions that immigrants living in this country without proper documentation are criminals. In fact, immigration status is often a civil matter, not a criminal one.

That, of course, is simply not true. Whether the illegal alien has committed a criminal offense or not, they are illegally present in the U.S. – hence the term “illegal alien.”

As for some of the other terms illustrated by the writer, “Asylum seekers” and “unaccompanied minors” are simply subsets of the more encompassing term, illegal alien. An “asylum seeker” is often an illegal alien seeking to adjust their status. But an “asylum seeker” can also be a legal immigrant on a temporary visa seeking to change their status to a more protected class. “Unaccompanied minor” is also a subset of an illegal alien, but it is not actually the legal phrase for the class. The term used by U.S. Customs and Border Protection for this class is “Unaccompanied Alien Children.”

The writer seeks to shore up his argument by quoting a professor from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Michael H. LeRoy.

“He wants to create the impression that all aliens who are in the U.S. without permission are criminals,” LeRoy said in an email to the Tribune. “Aliens have constitutional rights, and to convict them, they must have a trial. Immigration law is set up to provide a much faster process, called removal.”

The interesting point here is, LeRoy also used the apparently offensive term “alien” in his statement. However, the professor is incorrect. The AG is attempting to more accurately define criminal aliens that are being protected by sanctuary jurisdictions.

A perfect example presented itself this week when Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese in Portland, Oregon, exercised his political correctness training over community safety when, in December 2016, he released a criminal illegal alien wanted by immigration officials on felony re-entry charges. Immigration officials previously removed the violent illegal alien from the U.S. 20 times. ICE notified Sheriff Reese of their intent to pick up Sergio Jose Martinez from the county jail on a felony charge of illegal re-entry after removal, Breitbart Texas reported. Despite the immigration detainer, Reese’s jailers released the violent criminal alien. Martinez went on to attack and rape two women in the Portland area, one of whom was 65-years-old.

These are exactly the type of illegal alien and sanctuary city policies Sessions spoke of when announcing the crackdown on Byrne Grants.

LeRoy attempts to shore up his case stating, “In one case, a woman named Paulina flies into the United States, overstays her visa and accrues ‘an unlawful presence.’ In another instance, a man named Jose climbs a fence in Arizona and makes an ‘improper entry’.”

“Culturally, many people accept Paulina’s accrued unlawful presence more readily than Jose’s improper entry because of their ethnicity,” LeRoy said. Again, that is not true. “Paulina’s” illegal status is caused by an administrative issue of overstaying a visa – a civil violation. “Jose,” however, entered the U.S. without inspection – a criminal misdemeanor offense. While both of these fictitious individuals are “illegal aliens,” the issue of sanctuary cities focuses on jurisdictions that are ignoring lawful law enforcement requests, sometimes even when accompanied by a warrant for removal from a judge.

Slowik concludes by claiming, “’Illegal alien’ is a loaded phrase, and everyone – especially the president and attorney general – should be careful how they use it.”

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas. He is a founding member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX and Facebook.


This is just one more example of the left’s (democrats) technique of attempting to redefine the meaning of a word to benefit their agenda. They didn’t like “illegal alien” because that correctly and legally describes someone from another country who has entered the U.S. illegally – and thus, is an illegal alien. But the left decided that they wanted more illegals coming into the country to give them more power at the ballot box so they’ve attempted to redefine the label applied to them as something like “undocumented worker” or something more innocent-sounding. They are attempting to remove any negative connotation that might accompany either of the words “illegal” or “alien.”

This Chicago Tribune writer Todd Slowik has got some big brass balls to “correct” the Department of Justice and the Attorney General and chastise them for mischaracterizing those poor, innocent souls just trying to improve their family’s lives as illegal aliens. Even with the facts easily evident and the term being used in government legal documents, he still maintains that he is right and they are wrong.

Typical democrat leftist behavior. 




Categories: Political


10 replies

  1. PC culture is a problem. Check out my thoughts on the dangers of PC culture and much more

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “A not-so-subtle shift in word choice by the U.S. Department of Justice this week has largely gone unnoticed,” Chicago Tribune writer Todd Slowik wrote.

    Gee, I had the exact same thought soon after the Obama Administration came to power.

    I’ve never read Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals” but it must include a chapter instructing the wannabe radicals to project their own sins onto their opponents, because we see so much of this these days.

    I have to disagree with one thing you said though, Garnet. A leftist only needs big brass balls if he dares to step off the reservation and actually tell the truth. Towing the line by maligning someone like Jeff Sessions within the safe confines of the Tribune’s editorial pages requires no balls at all which, coincidentally, is how many Todd Slowik has.


    • Mea culpa, you’re right, CW. He was within the warm confines of the Chicago Tribune when he “corrected” Sessions – in his safe zone. I wonder if Slowik has ever considered that the reason that Session’s use of illegal alien went unnoticed is that is the way most of us view the intruders who sneak across the border ILLEGALLY and are not Americans (ALIENS).

      Nah, that would take a few synapses firing and they’re obviously putrefied in his dysfunctional brain.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You and bescher both nailed it. Where does he get off correcting Sessions when he’s dead wrong? And constitutional rights?? Ha!

    The leftists seem to think that softening the language used will soften the crimes they commit. I wonder what words they’d have us use instead of rapist and murderer. They can whine about this all they want, but they’ll never see me using their PC terminology.


    • I think that the best way we can combat the left’s penchant for redefining words is to refuse to use the “new and improved” versions they push and continue to use the accurate and real descriptions – like ILLEGAL ALIENS.


  4. I just love watching leftards go into hissy fits, which is one of the reasons I’m very careful to use the term “illegal alien” in everything I write or say about them. Plus, of course, it’s the most perfect actual description of their status, an added benefit.

    I also don’t call drug dealers “unlicensed pharmacists” or murderers “unauthorized executioners”. But that’s just me…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do the same thing, Brian, and I also NEVER capitalize “democrat” on purpose, it’s my way of showing a lack of respect.

      In fact, I have to fight an internal battle every time I capitalize “Republican” since they’ve done nothing to earn that capital R.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Also illegal Aliens and others don’t have Constitutional rights. How can anyone not a citizen have constitutional rights? They may have legal Rights but nothing more


    • What you say is true, but that doesn’t stop the dems from trying to assign Constitutional rights to illegal aliens anyway – if it serves their purpose. They’re just trying to buy more democrat votes, that’s all they’re doing. They have no real compassion for those illegal aliens, it’s all a vote buying scam.


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