“Fear” is a word you hear thrown around quite a lot in discussions about immigration. Oddly, the word has different connotations depending on who it is being applied to.

When the word fear is being applied to people who violate our immigration laws and the possibility of the law being enforced against them, it is meant to evoke sympathy for the illegal aliens and to rebuke the heartless society that is causing them to live in fear. When simple fear is not enough to spark the desired emotional response, the media and advocates for illegal aliens stand ready to up the rhetorical ante to “terror” – as in the “immigrant community” (a blanket description that lumps legal and illegal immigrants together) is being terrorized by the law enforcement agency that is tasked with enforcing the laws illegal aliens violate.

Conversely, the word fear is used frequently in discussing the broad swath of the American public that wants immigration laws enforced and overall immigration levels reduced. In that context it is not meant to evoke sympathy, but rather disdain. Americans who are said to be fearful of mass immigration and unchecked illegal immigration are depicted as driven by base emotions. Their inability to conquer the most primitive of all emotions make their concerns unworthy of consideration by the political and social elite.

In fact, as acting ICE Director Thomas Homan said recently in congressional testimony, people who break laws should live with some degree of fear that there could be consequences for their actions. If there are no consequences for breaking laws, then law are meaningless. No one should live in terror (and the only terror associated with illegal immigration is manufactured hysteria by political advocates), but all of us, including illegal aliens, should be worried when we break laws.

The people whom our laws are meant to protect, on the other hand, do have some legitimate fears of mass immigration and unenforced illegal immigration. For good reason, they fear that these phenomena threaten their jobs, their wages, their children’s schools, their access to vital public service, and other things that are important to them. A few, like those who live in communities infested by violent criminal gangs like MS-13, live in terror as a result of our unenforced immigration laws. Nobody should be terrorized by criminal gang members – especially those who should never have been in the country in the first place.

Unfortunately, like just about everything else, our language and our emotions are being corrupted by political opportunitists. It seems that nowadays, among the many things we have to fear is the application of the word fear itself.