People Are Not Illegal

No matter what your stance on immigration, can we please stop referring to people as illegal?  People can be in a country illegally or even be residents without proper documentation, but people, themselves, are not illegal.*

No one has to apply to be a person. One might argue that application to be part of humanity should be required, but as it stands now, everyone who is born gets to be a person.

It’s important that we recognize the distinction between the way we look at a person who does something illegal and a person who is, themselves, illegal. It’s the same as the difference between telling a child that he or she has done a bad thing and telling that child that he or she IS bad. One is about making bad choices and the other is about one’s inherent nature.

When we see people as illegal, we rob them of their personhood. We cease to see them as human and give ourselves permission to treat them as less-than-human.

So let’s stop calling people illegal.

People are beloved children of God.

People are created in God’s own image.

People are our brothers and sisters.

People can make huge mistakes, do horrible things and screw up royally, but they are not illegal.


*There are, of course, exceptions to this in certain countries. If you have not read Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime, I highly recommend it.

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1 thought on “People Are Not Illegal”

  1. Excellent example of what Christianity is supposed to look like!

    PS. I have ordered the Trevor Noah book that you referenced and I can hardly wait to read it!!

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