Translating the Language of the Left in Gary, Indiana… and Elsewhere
Clarity counts, but obfuscation is better when trying to unload unpopular items. Seasoned home buyers can attest that any listing described as “historic” likely means the house is as drafty as an upper deck at Wrigley Field, mice have homesteading rights, and the wiring is a tinderbox on which local firemen have been waging bets. Similarly, car buyers know “lightly driven” means the clunker has more digits on the odometer than the U.S National Debt Clock.
Likewise, honesty is lacking in most things immigration.
Case in point is Gary, Indiana, which in 2017 enacted a “Welcoming City” ordinance which sounds awfully nice on the surface given we all have a human instinct to be hospitable to new neighbors. The problem is that this measure doesn’t delineate between legal immigrants and illegal aliens, it prohibits local officials — including police — from requesting immigration status information, and thereby ignores the threat of criminal aliens and gangs. Most importantly, it runs afoul of Indiana’s anti-sanctuary laws passed in 2011. The ordinance — which more accurately should be labeled, “Gary’s Dinner Bell for Illegal Aliens” — has stubbornly survived several rounds of lawsuits, mostly due to lack of standing by plaintiffs.
Similar measures are popping up across the country. Despite squishy titles, they’re nothing other than efforts to reward and incentivize illegal immigration; never mind that doing so adversely impacts community safety, fiscal solvency, and overall quality of life for existing American residents.
Other euphemisms abound. “Fix a Broken System” is one such gem. This is commonly used by leftists distressed that there are actually laws against illegal immigration and outraged that America is not quadrupling its annual number of legal immigrants (or whatever increase is mathematically proven to deliver the precise number of new immigrant voters that will ensure one party dominance in all perpetuity). But the fact is, illegal aliens aren’t supposed to be in the United States because by definition they do not have legal status. As regards to our level of legal immigration, America currently allows in more than one million people a year, more than any other industrialized country on the planet. The bottom line is that the only thing broken about our immigration system is an unwillingness to impose sensible limitations and enforce the laws. Accuracy might suggest that their version of “fixing a broken system” should be read as “making the system worse.”
The granddaddy of linguist sleight-of-hand is “undocumented workers.” Given the huge sums of Soros-sourced money the special interests have, one might assume their high-paid consultants would have told them that this euphemism expired years ago. We all know it means illegal aliens, but open border advocates believe that using the adjective “undocumented” magically erases the illegality, while implying they are “workers” suggests all are gainfully employed, which they’re often not. The proper reference is “illegal aliens.” “Illegal” means prohibited by law. Yes, entry without inspection into the U.S is prohibited. And “alien” is a term defined in 8 U.S.C. Section 1101 and used by legal professionals across the board including the United States Supreme Court. It’s okay to say illegal aliens! You’ll be in good company.
George Carlin once said that “language is a tool for concealing the truth,” so caveat emptor on all these examples and so many others. And as regards Gary, Indiana’s “Welcoming” ordinance violating state law that no one seems able to do much about, well there is something useful brewing. The Indiana Senate recently voted to add teeth into the existing state sanctuary-city ban by authorizing the attorney general to sue jurisdictions like Gary that openly violate it with so-called “Welcoming” ordinances. The House still has to vote on it before they adjourn April 27. Hoosiers need to tell the Indiana House and Governor Eric Holcomb to support it too, otherwise Indiana’s anti-sanctuary law will continue to be whittled down by one local initiative after the other.
And that, at least, is the plain truth.