noun Often Disparaging and Offensive.
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Origin of illegal alien
usage note for illegal alien
Alien is a term used in legal language for a noncitizen resident, regardless of whether that person resides in the country legally or illegally. The term in the United States is inherited from British law, and has been a legal designation for foreign-born residents since the Revolutionary era. While the term continues to be used by the Department of Homeland Security and the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement as a technical term in legal documents, it is not preferred in general discourse. As alien is a word that is also associated with extraterrestrial life, it is perceived as dehumanizing when applied to immigrants.
Illegal alien is a designation for unlawful immigrants that was previously widely used, but is now associated with anti-immigration policies and advocates.
Though the adjectival usage of illegal ( illegal immigrant, illegal resident ) may have an anti-immigration connotation, it is still largely accepted. However, as a noun, illegal is highly offensive. This noun implies deviance or emphasizes the criminality of an individual whose only crime would have been illegal entry into the country or an overstayed visa.
While there is a long history of immigration without documents or without papers, the adjectives illegal and undocumented were primarily associated with Chinese and Japanese immigrants in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. However, since the mid-20th century, these terms have become associated with people of Mexican and other Latin American origin; they are even sometimes used to erroneously describe legal residents with proper documentation, based on their ethnicity.
It is more sensitive to use the adjectival forms undocumented or unauthorized when describing people: an undocumented immigrant , an unauthorized resident , etc. The use of these terms as adjectives reflects the legal status of the person without defining that person exclusively by immigration status.
Words nearby illegal alien
Example sentences from the Web for illegal alien
Watching him now being accused of illegal operations will not see them shedding any tears.Annoying Airport Delays Might Prevent You From Becoming the Next AirAsia 8501|Clive Irving|January 6, 2015|DAILY BEAST
In March, police arrested a group of wealthy businessmen and government officials who were about to dine on illegal tiger meat.
But millions of rules result in perpetual error, and, as a terminal side effect, make leadership and accomplishment illegal.
Many more illegal migrants face labor trafficking in Europe as they flee the conflict regions of North Africa and the Middle East.ISIS, Boko Haram, and the Growing Role of Human Trafficking in 21st Century Terrorism|Louise I. Shelley|December 26, 2014|DAILY BEAST
This would take time since, under current law, even scouting Cuban baseball players on the island is illegal.Is Major League Baseball Ready For Cuba’s Players?|Ben Jacobs|December 19, 2014|DAILY BEAST
He accuses the latter of various illegal and crafty acts, among them sending contraband gold and jewels to Mexico.
The member banks should look upon the reserve bank not as an alien but as their own institution.Readings in Money and Banking|Chester Arthur Phillips
An American woman therefore who marries an alien takes the nationality of her husband.
In 1855 Congress passed an act conferring citizenship on alien women who should marry American citizens.
These illegal combinations in America were obviously what caused the inconveniences of which the merchants complained.The Eve of the Revolution|Carl Becker