LETTER: Immigrants seeking asylum at U.S. border are not ‘illegals’

To Ozaukee Press:

Recent letters to the editor published in Ozaukee Press and news stories in the mainstream media refer to the migrants at our southern border as “illegal immigrants.”

I believe that language matters here, especially when it is applied to the families whose children were taken from them at the border.

Most of those subjected to this cruel policy entered the country legally.

They presented themselves at the “port of entry” (the border) and requested asylum in the United States. Under federal law and international treaties, this action of the asylum seeker triggers the right to a hearing in immigration court and the opportunity to prove that he or she has a well-founded fear of persecution in his or her  home country.

Far from being illegal, these families took the legal first step in their quest for sanctuary and security for themselves and their children.

We can disagree about whether the United States should be a refuge for those fleeing violence and persecution in their home countries, but let’s stop stigmatizing and adding to the trauma that these poor people have suffered.

Language matters.

Cassie McManus
Port Washington

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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494
 

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