University of Maryland Campaign Asks Students To Use “Undocumented Citizens” Rather Than “Illegal Aliens”

200px-University_of_Maryland_Seal.svgThe University of Maryland has launched a campaign educating students and faculty about how to refer to people and asking them to “think before you speak” to avoid insulting others. One of the lexicon lessons has caused a controversy. The campaign by UMD’s Multicultural Involvement and Community Advocacy office tells people not to use terms like “illegal alien” but rather “undocumented citizens.”

While “illegal alien” is a term that is used in legal materials and judicial opinions, it has been denounced as insulting. For that reason, many have switched to “undocumented immigrant” which the Maryland posters say is fine. However, it is the other suggested choice of “undocumented citizen” that has struck many as odd since the terms is an oxymoron. A citizen by defined is both legal and documented. It would suggest that people here unlawfully can nonetheless be “citizens”.

The State Department states “U.S. citizenship may be acquired either at birth or through naturalization subsequent to birth.”

The school’s “Inclusive Language Campaign” may be too inclusive from a legal standpoint in grouping undocumented persons into the same category as citizens.

Nicole Mehta, the program director of UMD’s Common Ground Multicultural Dialogue Program, however insisted that “undocumented citizen” was selected carefully and after a survey of students: “The use of ‘undocumented citizen’ (along with other terms such as undocumented individuals, immigrants, etc.) seeks to avoid dehumanization of an entire group of individuals.” I can understand the motivation, it is the foundation for the term that is inexplicable. “Citizen” is a legal term of art. It is a status defined by certain conditions. While it may make some feel more included, it is a fictional status and undermines serious discussion of the status of undocumented people in this country.

What do you think?

77 thoughts on “University of Maryland Campaign Asks Students To Use “Undocumented Citizens” Rather Than “Illegal Aliens””

  1. Well I heard this evening that the Syrian refugees that have already been brought into the United States are being given permanent resident status and in some cases full citizenship. I haven’t verified this but if true, that would be worse.

  2. Ahh…ok…so anyone can cross the border and they are instantly a citizen, they simply lack the documentation to prove it. It will be interesting to see if anyone can ever come up with anything more ridiculous than this.

  3. Nice of you to invite me to your county, Paul! Regardless of the tin hat (or maybe because of it) I can be a lot of fun. 🙂

    After doing an abundance of research we decided on Montana, but speaking of Joe Arpaio, have you been following his court case? All I want for Christmas is for someone other than myself and however many birthers there are to be privy to this “Universe Shattering” information. I’m still getting up to speed on it myself….There’s so much sh*t going on it’s impossible to keep up.

    UNIVERSE SHATTERING? YES! Shocking Zullo Federal Court Revelations!

  4. Damn it Paul! What do you mean by housing divisions? You mean housing developments? Maricopa County hmm? Home of Joe Arpaio whom I love. Okay so go ahead and insult me now. It’s Christmas after all so I can afford to be compassionate. 🙂

    1. Hildegard – Maricopa County is bigger than several states. Joe’s office is mid-town Phoenix and he pretty much stays there. Would sub-division be a better description of what they are building. When the housing market died a lot of projects stopped. Many of those have been ramped up now.

  5. And in further ironic news, universities unite to excise and dumb down the English language via the PC machine.

  6. When I settled in Chicago in 1963 as a so-called Green Carder my status was “legal resident” of the USA (and Illinois). Hence the expression “illegal alien” is legal voodoo. “Undocumented citizen” is even worse. There is only one correct status. It is “illegal resident”. The expression “illegal immigrant” can be misleading as many of the illegal residents entered our country legally.

  7. SillyT,

    “…you’re just posting this petty nonsense to see how riled up you can make the fringers who come here, right?”

    The “fringers who come here…” are depicted at the top of the page.

    They have names like Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, Madison – and they weren’t wide receivers.

    And they weren’t afraid to act. And they weren’t cowards.

    And they didn’t suffer fools, frauds, freeloaders or parasites.

    Scroll up. Take a look see.


    What do you suppose they meant by that?

    Maybe we could get the Extreme Court to “commingle the definitions” of those words and explain that the

    phrase actually means that every person, every “fringer” in the world, nay, the universe, is an “American-In-

    Waiting” – waiting for their “free stuff.”

    You’re so silly. You make me giggle.

  8. Rick “It’s always amusing when people reveal themselves as nutjobs in the same post they complain about nutjobs.” Amen to that.

    Karen: Being a Californian currently I can relate to your points “Every single government document is available in Spanish, and illegal aliens can now get …..” Yes, and don’t forget every voice mail system has the “enter 1 for English, 2 for Spanish” option. And not only government documents but marketing materials as well. Even my damn cell phone MAKES me scroll through the Spanish texting options every single time I send a text and there is NO way to turn it off. REALLY annoying. Yes, I have a cheap “dumb” phone but you get the point. The job I have is filled by a VAST majority of illegals and I have had to literally fight for my right to get paid according to the LAW.

    Here’s a fun article: How Much Do Illegals Cost California Taxpayers Each Year?

    “The 2015-16 fiscal year budget for the entire state of California is $167.6 billion. The cost for illegals comprises nearly 15% of the total state budget while only comprising nearly 8% of the population.”
    And we wonder why the cost of living here is INSANE. I can’t wait to get the Hell out of this God forsaken state.

    1. Hildegard – we have housing divisions going up again in Maricopa County. We are always looking for new people. 🙂 And you will love the price of gas.

  9. phillyT
    the Trump supporters shouting Sieg Heil at his rallies.

    It’s always amusing when people reveal themselves as nutjobs in the same post they complain about nutjobs.

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