HomeQ&Aillegal alien or illegal immigrant = ?

illegal alien or illegal immigrant = ?

1
vote

someone or a Mexican who enters the US illegally is called what?

4508 views
updated JUN 8, 2010
posted by apachebob9

7 Answers

3
votes

"Illegal immigrant" is more formal and specific. Alien is a broader word that includes anyone foreign to a particular place (including, of course, creatures foreign to earth).

Generally the two terms are used interchangeably, though technically an illegal immigrant would be someone who has actually moved or immigrated to a place, whereas an illegal alien could be anyone who is currently in the country illegally.

Of course then you have "undocumented immigrant" or "undocumented worker". These are used mostly by people who defend illegal immigration/immigrants. Sometimes people will also just use the word "immigrant" when they really mean illegal immigrant to downplay the whole breaking the law aspect.

updated JUN 5, 2010
posted by cow-earl
I agree with this view. I think that anyone who enters a country illegally isan "illegal alien". That person only becomes an "Illegal inmigrant" when he or she attempts to take up residence in said country. - Gekkosan, JUN 5, 2010
2
votes

I've never understood the "alien" part of illegal alien. Illegal immigrant is better, which is also the description that suits you if you enter illegally into Japan, Chile, Australia, Canada, Mexico, etc.

updated JUN 5, 2010
posted by amykay
Aren't aliens from outer space?? - amykay, JUN 5, 2010
2
votes

Depends on how you feel about the situation. Around here (southern California) you hear indocumentado a lot (undocumented one). That's short for inmigrante indocumentado (illegal/undocumented immigrant).

updated JUN 5, 2010
edited by KevinB
posted by KevinB
1
vote

You can say it either way. But I hear illegal immigrant more where I live (Northern Virginia). The "alien" part of illegal alien is used to say that they are foreign but I rarely hear illegal alien used.

updated JUN 5, 2010
posted by tonkscat
0
votes

I am sure that illegal immigrant is a much clearer description since the word alien suggests that they come from a different planet - like something out of a Stephen Spielberg film - wheras in fact they are still human and simply living or seeking to live in a country illegally and whatever the rights and wrongs of that, they are still human.

(One further thought: the Big trouble with such terms as immigrant or illegal immigrant is that they are very emotive/evocative and so can be used to stir up hatred against such people and No... I am not one of them, nor do I defend their illegal behaviour. Like statistics these terms can be used to obscure the reality that these people are human beings like us with families to feed. I would just hate to be in their shoes since so many people in this world like to treat them like dirt...including politicians who make political capital out of them. By the way, I am not for one minute suggesting that anyone here is seeking to do that but pointing out the dangers that the media and politicians frequently harp on about the problems perhaps if the latter were to work with the leaders of other nations to help provide work for themin their own countries they wouldn't need to go looking for work elsewhere)

updated JUN 8, 2010
edited by FELIZ77
posted by FELIZ77
Well, I'm glad to say that I think most of the anger of US citizens at this point is correctly directed at our politicians who refuse to enforce the law and give _legal_ immigrants their place in line rather than making fool out of them. - cow-earl, JUN 8, 2010
0
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Inmigrante ilegal, though in Spanish it's usually heard "Vive en USA pero está ilegal"

updated JUN 5, 2010
posted by Benz
0
votes

Illegal Alien cool cheese

updated JUN 5, 2010
posted by Mike-LaMar
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