Republican Latino Outreach Memo: Don't Use the Term Illegal Immigrant, or Illegals, Aliens and "Anchor Babies"

Is "undocumented" better?


In his press conference (campaign stop?) in Las Vegas today, President Obama noted the bipartisan support for "comprehensive immigration reform," even pointing out it wasn't often that Ted Kennedy and George W. Bush agreed on an issue, but immigration was one* and that, apparently was important. The group of senators onto whose proposal the president latched today included four Republicans:  Arizona's John McCain and Jeff Flake, Florida's Marco Rubio, and South Carolina's Lindsay Graham. Republicans are widely perceived as needing to embrace the issue of immigration reform after their 2012 defeat, and now a leaked memo from the Hispanic Leadership Network, a conservative outreach group, urges members to eschew certain "tonally insensitive" terms, irrespective of their position on the issue. From The Hill:

The memo suggests that Republican senators and congressmen refer to "undocumented immigrant[s]" rather than "illegals" or "aliens" and that they never use the phrase "anchor babies." It also warns Republicans against using the term "amnesty" to describe the plan, and suggests attacking President Obama for not pushing earlier for a plan.

Illegal entry into the United States is a misdemeanor and anchor babies are pretty much a nativist myth. Opposition to the term "illegal" is based on the idea that "no human being is illegal." Yet for libertarians the adjective "undocumented" might be more odious. After all, what kind of human being should require documentation?