- The Washington Times - Monday, September 24, 2012


Writer Catherine Poe is correct in saying GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney used fighting words when he recently called DREAMers “illegal aliens” (DREAM Act: Mitt Romney still calls DREAMers ‘illegal aliens’ at Univision’s Latino Forum,” Web, Thursday). More importantly, Mr. Romney’s words are dangerous and illustrate how out of touch he is with the immigrant community. How can someone claim to advocate for a “permanent solution” to fix our broken immigration system when he dehumanizes immigrants within the same breath?

Mr. Romney must drop the I-word. Why? The I-word, short for “illegal alien,” “illegal immigrant” and like harmful terms, is a racially charged slur used to strip immigrants of their humanity. Dehumanizing public discourse normalizes a societal perception that 12 million undocumented immigrants are subhuman, lower status and undeserving of basic human rights and fair and just treatment.

The I-word is a straw man proposal, an imaginary and generalized argument and scapegoat for systemic problems easily refuted and designed to thwart efforts to pass comprehensive immigration reform and advance Mr. Romney’s self-deportation policy. During the GOP primary debates earlier this year, Mr. Romney advocated for self-deportation, a strategy to reduce the number of undocumented immigrants in the United States by pushing them further into the shadows and making their lives so miserable that they must leave the country.

We are a nation of opportunity and hard work, civil liberties and human dignity. Mr. Romney’s immigration policy depends on creating a human-rights crisis for millions. His rhetoric and policies are dangerous, unacceptable and contrary to the American dream.


California Democrat

Vice chairman, Democratic National Committee

San Jose, Calif.

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