illegal alien

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Alternative forms[edit]

  • IA (abbreviation)


illegal alien (plural illegal aliens)

  1. (sometimes offensive) A person who is within the boundaries of a political state without the authorization of the government of that state; a national of another country who has entered or stayed without permission.

Usage notes[edit]

  • The use of "illegal" to describe a person, rather than an action a person has undertaken, is often regarded as offensive.[1][2][3]





  1. ^ Charles Garcia (2012-07-05) Special to CNN[1], CNN:
    When you label someone an "illegal alien" or "illegal immigrant" or just plain "illegal," you are effectively saying the individual, as opposed to the actions the person has taken, is unlawful. The terms imply the very existence of an unauthorized migrant in America is criminal. In this country, there is still a presumption of innocence that requires a jury to convict someone of a crime. If you don't pay your taxes, are you an illegal? What if you get a speeding ticket? A murder conviction? No. You're still not an illegal. Even alleged terrorists and child molesters aren't labeled illegals.
  2. ^ Jacob Chamberlain (2013-04-13), “AP Finally Agrees: “No Human Being is Illegal””, in Common Dreams[2]
  3. ^ Steve Padilla and Selene Rivera (2016-04-03), “Library of Congress to stop using term 'illegal alien'”, in Los Angeles Times[3]

Further reading[edit]