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Readers disagree about whether the word "illegal" should be used in immigration coverage

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Our post yesterday about Colorado signing on to the Secure Communities program sparked a debate among commenters after reporter Melanie Asmar used the term "illegal immigrants." Should the word "illegal" be used in that way? Or is it unnecessarily pejorative? Here are two strong views:

Piper wrote:

1) Westword: please stop using the word ixxlegal. People are not illegal and we don't use that label for anyone else who has broken the law.

2) Our laws our faulty and do nothing to address the root causes of immigration: trade and foreign policies which make very few of us richer and everyone else, especially in developing countries, poorer.

3) This program is a mass deportation program regardless of a person's criminal history or lack therof. It's arrest, not conviction based so we've basically said if you're an immigrant, due process doesn't matter. A very slippery and dangerous slope to go back down. I'm against it. And I'm equally against the deception and the spin from the Governor's office. There are no protections for anyone, not victims, not witnesses of crime, not anyone.

Magyart countered with this:

The people that ignore the legal pathway that has been established for legal immigration, realize their conduct may result in deportation. They are not deported because they were arrested, but because they lack a legal immigration status.

If residents lack a legal immigration status, they are illegal alien residents !

We must also reject the argument that only serious criminals be deported. The federal govt. must continuously increase the annual number of deportations and implement a zero tolerance policy.

We need E-verify legislation at a nation level and change our policy of granting citizenship to "anchor babies".

The American citizen and legal immigrant has rejected CIR and the DREAM Act.

For more memorable takes, check out our Comment of the Day archive.

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