USC Professor Bans Use of Word “Illegal Immigrant” on Final Exams



illegalimmigranttermIn its mission statement, the University of Southern California (USC) proudly boasts that it is “unfettered by political control” and “strongly committed to academic freedom.” However, this mission statement seems to only apply to those who are willing to follow a certain politically correct orthodoxy. Campus Reform is reporting that American Studies professor Alicia Chavez had her teaching assistant instruct students to “refrain from using the term ‘illegal immigrant’ to refer to human beings, as Professor Chavez has requested (or mandated).”

American universities used to be places that fostered and encouraged debate from a variety of perspectives. No longer. Instead, students are must accept faculty indoctrination or else risk a failing grade. In today’s university, respecting “safe spaces” and using politically correct terminology are becoming requisites to remain in good standing.

“Illegal alien” is a factual and accurate description of foreign nationals who violate U.S. immigration laws when entering the country. It is a legal term of art referenced in legal dictionaries and is commonly used throughout immigration-related legislation. In contrast, referring to illegal aliens as “immigrants” is factually incorrect. “Immigrant” is also a legal term, but it refers specifically to those who have been granted authorization to reside permanently within the borders of the United States. So, essentially, one of America’s most prestigious universities is requiring the use of incorrect terminology in order to maintain political correctness.

This is only the latest battle in an ongoing war on words waged by open border proponents. In April, amid pressure by pro-amnesty groups, the Library of Congress announced plans to replace all references of “illegal aliens” with the terms “non-citizens” and “unauthorized immigration.” The U.S. House of Representatives eventually voted 237-170 to require the Library of Congress to use the correct legal terminology.

Changing the nomenclature and rhetoric related to illegal immigration is part of a larger effort by open-border proponents to normalize the act of illegal immigration. Force-feeding vanilla terms to impressionable students is simply one way to minimize the negative connotations related to breaking American immigration laws. It is important that Americans, especially the next generation of leaders currently in college, acknowledge the importance of upholding the rule of law, and properly labeling those who violate it.

About Author

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Spencer joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 2015. He conducts research, and writes content for FAIR’s publications and website. He brings previous experience in state politics, gubernatorial and district campaigns, and D.C. political non-profits. Spencer holds a B.A. in Government from the University of Texas at Austin.

26 Comments

  1. avatar
    Barbara Griffith on

    What all of this sounds like is a politically correct dictatorship that has been going on in the U.S. for years.There was a number of years that you were not allowed to say Merry Christmas to anyone because someone that was not of your religion might be offended. I think that silly notion has finally run its course, the public is waking up to the fact that their rights are being taken away from them and they are fighting back. That is why Trump was voted into office he’s doing thank you tours to some of the states that helped him gain the number of electoral votes needed to push him over the top.

    • avatar

      You got all of that from a badly worded piece of propaganda?! Wow! There’s no “battle” by anybody to subvert anything except in your mind and in the author of this piece. The “battle” (if you insist) is against the incorrect use of “illegal immigrant.” Period. Look: by legal definition, if a person is an “immigrant,” he’s NOT ‘illegal.” If he’s not here legally, he’s NOT an “immigrant.” That’s all there is to this.

    • avatar

      The following definitions of ‘alien’ and ‘immigrant’ are found in 8 USC 1101(a):

      (3) The term “alien” means any person not a citizen or national of the United States.

      (15) The term “immigrant” means every alien except an alien who is within one of the following classes of
      nonimmigrant aliens (My note: ‘non-immigrant’ as used here means aliens who are legally admitted for a specified period of time, such as students, visitors, etc.)

      Under the immigration law, an ‘immigrant’ can be here illegally. As a Border Patrol agent I often ‘wrote up’ illegal aliens as ‘an immigrant not in possession of the proper documents’ for deportation purposes, if they were working here illegally or intended to remain in the U.S. indefinitely.

      To me, it matters little what you call them; the fact is they’re here illegally. I generally use the term ‘unauthorized alien’ because it’s found in the immigration laws.

  2. avatar

    My husband Amit Bhardwaj Passport No.–470648483 ,legally married in India, father of two kids ,entered in US for MBA at University of Texas in 2001.After MBA started working here promising their family to call them.
    In 2006 married to US citizen without legally divorcing indian wife. and in 2010 got US citizenship.We came to know this in 2016.

    Your country is having numerous such stories,where families are broken ,and dreams are shattered.As these greedy ,irresponsible persons know that they will survive and your laws are blind enough to ignore all these type of incidences.

  3. avatar

    Title 8, United States Code, Section 1101 is the legal definition of illegal alien. Let’s not kid ourselves.

    • avatar

      The immigration law is on the books, and Obama shut down part of that law so his Muslim friend could enter the US
      Obama has violated his oath of up holding the law, and is guilty of treason, so now his blame the Russian for tampering with the election. But what about the facts the Obama Birth Cert. has 9 counts of forgery????

    • avatar

      Johnbone
      The words or definitions are not the issue, it’s the Latina professor who pushes her agenda on defenses students who either comply or pay the price. Hopefully there is a new sheriff in town and maybe we’ll see our laws enforced.
      Perhaps even aiding and abetting criminal activity, starting with the idiot currently occupying the White House.

    • avatar

      Any college or university receiving funds for any reason, including research, from taxpayer funds needs to either use the legally correct terminology and stop the political BS or HAVE ALL THOSE TAXPAYER SUBSIDIES / RESEARCH CONTRACTS / GRANTS SHUT OFF. NOT ANOTHER DIME TO SUPPORT VIOLATION OF OUR LAWS. WE HAVE MANY LAWS ON THE BOOKS REGARDING ENTERING THIS COUNTRY LEGALLY.

      • avatar

        Sorry, all of you prepared to complain, but the professor is right. The term “illegal immigrant” is a contradiction. By legal definition an “immigrant” is LEGAL. If he isn’t LEGAL he/she CAN NOT be an immigrant. The correct term for one not here in a legal designation as a citizen or an immigrant or a nonimmigrant is “alien.” It is also contradictory to refer to a “legal alien.”

        • avatar

          An “immigrant” is one who enters another country with the intent of living there. Violating a law is and illegal act. So, an “immigrant” that seeks to live in a country without entering properly is in violation of the immigration laws. Therefore, he/she/it IS an “illegal immigrant”- one who seeks to live in a country in violation of the (immigration) laws.
          Slice and dice all you want- but to me they are “alien invaders who have entered my country illegally and, as such, are no better than an invading army. And should be treated as such. I’m willing to make an exception for the illegal hispanics. For them I recommend they be treated in EXACTLY the same manner as those entering THEIR country illegally. And I do mean exactly.

          • avatar

            UpHuff, I am in absolute agreement with your assessment and nomenclature. I have used that expression, “alien invaders,” on many occasions and feel, short of even more severe labels, that is far more accurate than “immigrant.” Having spent the better part of 9 years at USC, receiving 3 degrees and teaching there, I am not at all surprised. Despite what I believe has been a “conservative reputation” as far back as the mid-seventies, I personally was subject to a public, vulgar, expletive-laden diatribe simply for not answering an exam question because I did not agree with the “theory” that its expected answer required.

          • avatar

            This is a good one for you to read. Google Allan Wasonga Onyango case. This man came here on a Student Visa. He was suppose to attend school in Michigan in 2006. He left School and went to Kentucky.. He stole Social Security Cards and went to worked { ID theft.} He beat a young lady so badly that she had to be admitted to the extensive care unit in Kentucky. Police photos where taken of the young lady. He did 3 years in our the jail systems. He was bounce from one Jail to another. The last one was in Dodge County in Wisconsin. He was released. He is living and working in Milwaukee Wisconsin. He said he is not a Mexican, he is a Kenyan and will not be deported. I have to say so far he is correct. All they have to do is get in this country and fall between the cracks. They them selves know, they have more rights than the USA Citizens. Any one else that commited this kind a crime would be considers a Felon. Not this guy he is good to go and is not on any court records in Wisconsin. A clean slate.

      • avatar

        Totally agree. These people want to support the deadbeats then let them do it, I resent our government forcing these burdens down our throats. I wish I never had to waste another dime of my money on criminals which ALL illegal immigrants are.

  4. avatar
    Glad to see the Election Result on

    They ain’t immigrants. They are criminals. So, calling them “illegal immigrants” is wrong – they are “illegal criminals”.

    • avatar

      Yes. They violate AMERICA’S IMMIGRATION LAWS. That makes them criminals no matter what any liberal nutcase wants to call them.

    • avatar

      Those people who came over our borders without proper papers, some years ago, were called “illegal aliens”. Then some smart a**** officials in the SW said they should not be called that. They are immigrants coming here for a better life. We are discriminating against them. So they became ‘illegal immigrants’. (I believe “Judicial Watch.org” has something on that.) That’s gone on for a some years. The truth is, U.S.A. has immigration laws that have to be met before coming to live here. All of these humans entering without authority are here ILLEGALLY. Period. They should not receive a lesser punishment for breaking a law, any law, than what our citizens receive. Their records of such should not be whitewashed!!!!! USC cannot be more “politically correct”, and are lying through their teeth. They are hypocrites!

  5. avatar

    I am not surprised that the “University of Spoiled Children” has a class like this. Most of the students in the class, unless they are there on scholarship, will probably be from higher income neighborhoods and their experience with illegal immigration with probably be limited to interacting with “The help”. Still, threatening students with a poor grade if they are not politically correct is obviously an unhealthy trend at our universities.

    • avatar

      A ton of money was spent to send members of my family to this university. We are working people and send kids for a great education. Many of us are the ‘help’. I recall being the help.

      • avatar

        I am happy for you and your family and I hope they got a good education and the money was well spent. They certainly have a good alumni network especially in Southern California.

    • avatar

      Its more than an “unhealthy trend”! Its dictatorial. I’m glad “Campus Reform” reported them. If parents want to object to their kids being brainwashed the Alumni should stop donating to them. Let it happen where it hurts most. There are other places of higher learning, in the U.S.A. that give students the respect they are entitled to. Send your kids there, for fewer $$.