Letter to the editor: Undocumented immigrants

Jaclyn Ermoyan

To the editor:

I would like to thank the Lanthorn for writing on the recent flocking of Central American children to our country’s southern border (“Increasing Immigration,” Sept. 22, A3). To be educated citizens and voters, we need to understand the facts around this issue, namely, that these are minors fleeing gang violence and death threats.

However, I would like to correct the use of the word “illegal” in the article (paragraph 7) in two ways.

1) As noted by many human rights organizations, people are not illegal, only acts can be (http://colorlines.com/drop-the-i-word/). Thus, we can say of the 11+ million immigrants in the United States without official status, they entered illegally, or they overstayed their limited-term visas and are now here illegally. To phrase this better, people who entered the country illegally or no longer have a legal visa are undocumented immigrants. Note that the Associated Press (and other news organs since then) came out with a position on this in 2013 (http://blog.ap.org/2013/04/02/illegal-immigrant-no-more/).

2) The status of these children is not illegal, per se. They came to our southern border and turned themselves in to national border patrol agents. Mostly, they are seeking asylum (http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-ff-immigration-answers-20140621-story.html). As with all asylum seekers, any moral country has the obligation to evaluate the facts of their asylum claims and grant safe harbor to those who would otherwise be killed, tortured, or persecuted upon repatriation. We gave shelter to Jews fleeing the Nazi holocaust and more recently to Bosnians fleeing 1990s genocide in the Balkans. These young children deserve no less protection.

Jaclyn Ermoyan

GVSU student