House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's office Friday chided House Speaker John A. Boehner for calling illegal immigrant children "aliens" in a Twitter message.
"Mr. Speaker, these comments and labels are inexcusable and reprehensible — no one should be politicizing the ordeal of these children in such a manner," Mrs. Pelosi's office said.
Immigrant-rights advocates have feverishly complained about using the word "alien" in the immigration debate, arguing that it's an offensive term that suggests an otherworldly characterization. They said it stokes fears and unfairly taints the conversation.
But defenders point to the word as the correct legal term for a non-American — particularly one who hasn't gone through the legal immigration process and so can't be called an immigrant. Indeed, the Obama administration's Homeland Security Department officially refers to the kids surging across the border as "Unaccompanied Alien Children."
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