UCLA Drops Term 'Illegal Immigrant'

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A step in the right direction? The student government of UCLA unanimously passed a decision to drop the term "illegal immigrant" last week, reports the Huffington Post. The decision comes after a "Drop the I-Word" campaign launched by the Applied Research Center and its publicaion ColorLines.

“[T]he racially derogatory I-Word endangers basic human rights including the presumption of innocence and the right to due process guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution,” the resolution reads. “Human beings need to be central in immigration discussions in order to move toward a more civilized and humane tone in public discourse and policies on immigration.”

The resolution specifically emphasizes that campus partners, journalists and media no longer use the term in reference to undocumented individuals, reports campus newspaper the Daily Bruin. The resolution was also influenced by the student body's diversity and with respect to the school's undocumented students.

In addition, the decision was impacted by the concerns of students following Janet Napolitano's selection as president of the University of California system in July. Napolitano was the former Homeland Security Secretary, and presided over the agency that deported a record number of undocumented immigrants under the Obama administration, roughly 400,000 a year. 

“Calling someone illegal is calling them someone that does not deserve to exist,” Community Service Commissioner Omar Arce told the Daily Bruin. “Words have power. Words have the opportunity to define people and create context.”

 

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