Many who support immigration enforcement measures will justify their position by asking what part of illegal in illegal immigration do you not understand? This essay provides ten answers to that question. The term “illegal immigrant” is without legal meaning, sweeping in both undocumented immigrants and legal immigrants who commit violations, including violations which may be minor or unintentional. The presumption that some immigrants are worthy of status while others are not distracts us from appreciating that our enforcement-only immigration policies are irrational, expensive, and detrimental to our long-term interests. For over 20 years, ever since President Clinton signed the Illegal Immigration and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, we have pursued immigration enforcement at the expense of legalizing the status of those who are contributing to our society. We have done so by demonizing immigrants in general and those whom we call “illegal immigrants” in particular. But who is
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