NPR Latino USA anchor María Hinojosa told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes Sunday her opposition to the term “illegal immigrant” stemmed from a conversation with Nobel Peace Prize winner and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel years ago in which Wiesel said the term was part of the horrors he faced in his youth.
“If there is an authority, you should be it,” Hinojosa said she told Wiesel. “And he said, ‘María, don’t ever use the term ‘illegal immigrant.’ And I said, ‘Why?’ And he said, ‘Because once you label a people ‘illegal,’ that is exactly what the Nazis did to Jews.’ You do not label a people ‘illegal.’ They have committed an illegal act. They are immigrants who crossed illegally. They are immigrants who crossed without papers. They are immigrants who crossed without permission. They are living in this country without permission. But they are not an illegal people.”
The use of the term resurfaced for debate this week, with undocumented journalist and immigration advocate Jose Antonio Vargas and New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan recently discussing the use of it in the press.
“I see no advantage for Times readers in a move away from the paper’s use of the phrase ‘illegal immigrant,'” Sullivan wrote in an Oct. 2 column. “It is clear and accurate; it gets its job done in two words that are easily understood. The same cannot be said of the most frequently suggested alternatives — ‘unauthorized,’ ‘immigrants without legal status,’ ‘undocumented.'”
Vargas, founder of the advocacy group Define American, reiterated his call Sunday for media outlets to stop using the term, saying the term ‘illegal’ underscores the media’s tendency to discuss the issue simplistically.
“We have so largely dehumanized this issue,” Vargas said. “And our job as journalists — and I’m speaking as somebody who’s been doing this for more than a decade — is really being more descriptive in the way we use this term.”
When Hayes brought up Sullivan’s point that “illegal” is a technical term while “undocumented” has its own connotation, Hinojosa asked if he knew someone who had broken the law.
“I don’t think I’ve known a single person who hasn’t broken the law,” Hayes answered, at which point Hinojosa offered up hypothetical examples of people who have broken traffic laws, or failed to pay child support, or have not paid taxes.
“That means that now your friends are an ‘illegal driver,’ an ‘illegal taxpayer’ and an ‘illegal father,'” Hinojosa suggested. “It is not a Latino issue. It is not an immigrant issue. Frankly, it’s not even an American issue. It’s a worldwide issue.”
Watch Hinojosa and Vargas’ discussion with Hayes, aired Sunday on MSNBC, below.
HBO’s ‘Real Time’ panel provides roadmap for Democrats to get DNI’s Ukraine report and speed-up impeachment
During the "Overtime" segment of HBO's "Real Time," Bill Maher and his guests took up the problems the Democrats are having acquiring Donald Trump'stax returns as well as other documents they need if they are going to impeach the president.
Responding to a question over whether the state of New York will indict the president, the conversation turned to prosecutors seeking Trump's taxes.
According to presidential historian Tim Naftali, there is precedent allowing the acquisition.
"Is it really that hard to get somebody's frigging, f*cking taxes? " host Bill Maher asked.
"Actually, there is a precedent," Naftali explained. "If the House started on the impeachment hearings, they could act on the precedent of 1974, where Nixon's taxes were turned over to the impeachment committee. So there is a precedent, but they have to make the decision that they are having an impeachment inquiry."
‘Do a lot of stupid sh*t as quickly as possible’: Ambassador Power breaks down ’The Trump Doctrine’
The former ambassador to the United Nations explained "The Trump Doctrine" during a Friday evening interview with comedian Bill Maher on HBO's "Real Time."
Samantha Power, the author of the new book, The Education of an Idealist, was asked by Maher about the foreign policy mantra of the Obama administration.
"Obama's foreign policy doctrine was famously summarized as 'don't do stupid sh*t," Maher noted. "Trump's, of course, is 'Do stupid sh*t.'"
"Do stupid sh*t as quickly as possible," Power clarified.
‘Brett Kavanaugh’s penis is back in the news’: Bill Maher breaks down the latest Supreme Court scandal
HBO "Real Time" host Bill Maher broke down the latest scandal facing the United States Supreme Court.
"Brett Kavanaugh's penis is back in the news," Maher said. "The New York Times kind of tripped over his dick on this one."
Maher suggested the report reflects poorly on Kavanaugh's manhood.
"The problem is the woman, the victim, has no recollection of it happening -- which isn't really a ringing endorsement of his penis," Maher said.