Hillary Clinton Vows Never to Say ‘Illegal Immigrant’

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Hillary Clinton pledged Monday never to use the phrase “illegal immigrant.”

Clinton was grilled about her past use of the term during a Democratic forum focusing on minority concerns.

“Last November you said the following and I quote: ‘I have voted many times to spend money to build a barrier to prevent illegal immigrants from coming in,’” Fusion TV host Jorge Ramos said. “So first question: would you commit to not using the term ‘illegal’ or ‘illegal immigrants’ in the future?”

Clinton acceded to Ramos’s request and disavowed her earlier comments.

“Absolutely. That was a poor choice of words and obviously, historically I have used ‘undocumented.’ I haven’t used it since and I won’t use it in the future,” Clinton said.

Progressive activists have waged war against the term “illegal immigrant” for years, saying that “undocumented immigrant” or “undocumented worker” better describes the immigrants who enter the country illegally. They argue that the term “illegal immigrant” is disparaging because a person cannot be illegal, only an action—although similar terms are often applied to people who commit crimes like jaywalking (“jaywalker”) or shoplifting (“shoplifter”).

This campaign has been successful in swaying the opinion of the media, which is quick to excise controversial terms from its vocabulary. Major media outlets like the Associated Press and New York Times have disavowed the term “illegal immigrant.”

Activists have been less successful in convincing the general public, which consistently ranks illegal immigration high on its list of concerns. A 2013 Rasmussen poll found that only 27 percent of Americans think the term “illegal immigrant” is offensive.

Transcript below:

JORGE RAMOS: Last November you said the following and I quote: ‘I have voted many times to spend money to build a barrier to prevent illegal immigrants from coming in.’ So first question: would you commit to not using the term ‘illegal’ or ‘illegal immigrants’ in the future?

HILLARY CLINTON: Absolutely. That was a poor choice of words and obviously, historically I have used ‘undocumented.’ I haven’t used it since and I won’t use it in the future.

Blake Seitz   Email Blake | Full Bio | RSS
Blake Seitz is assistant editor for the Washington Free Beacon. Blake graduated from the University of Georgia in 2015. Contact him via email at seitz@freebeacon.com. Follow him on Twitter @BlakeSeitz.

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