Charles Garcia, CEO of Garcia Trujillo, a consulting, merchant banking, and venture capital firm recently told CNN that there is a negative connotation to the terms “illegal alien” or “illegal immigrant.”
“The terms imply the very existence of an unauthorized migrant in America is criminal,” he told the source. “In this country, there is still a presumption of innocence that requires a jury to convict someone of a crime. Even alleged terrorists and child molesters aren’t labeled illegals.”
Garcia isn’t alone in his belief that the terms are considered racist. A national poll conducted by Fox News Latino found that 46 percent of Latino voters surveyed found the term “illegal immigrant” offensive. Along the same lines, 35 percent believe the term accurately describes individuals who reside in the U.S. without citizenship. Only 7 percent of those surveyed have neutral feelings on the term, exuding it to be an emotionally charged term.
University of Memphis journalism professor Thomas Hrach attempted to find out why the term was being so widely used among other journalists in the media. Hrach conducted a survey of 122,000 articles published between 2000 and 2010 to study which terms people were using to describe immigrants in the U.S. Hrach discovered that 59 percent of the stories were using the term “illegal immigrant,” 29 percent used the words “illegal alien,” and about eight percent used the term “undocumented immigrant.”