Controversy Over The Term “Illegal Aliens”

Subject Headings are terms or phrases used by the library of congress to organize information. These legally accepted terms not only make it easier for librarians to find specific topics, but are also used in bibliographic records. Recently, the term “illegal aliens”, used to refer to undocumented immigrants, aroused a controversy between the Republican party and many immigrants like Ms. Padilla. Ms. Padilla while doing research on immigration, noticed that the term was being used constantly by the library of congress and found it extremely offensive. She filed a petition to remove the term from the Library of Congress which was approved two years later. People who support this petition believe that this term is pejorative and it criminalizes choices made by people who aspire to a better life. However, the article states that republicans believe that any term other than “alien” would be legally inaccurate and that the Library of Congress is obligated to disseminate accurate information only.

In my opinion, the term “illegal aliens” should be removed from subject headings of the Library of Congress. I think this term is extremely inaccurate as it refers to people as illegal and only actions can be considered illegal. Furthermore, it underestimates the struggles many immigrants had to overcome to be able to provide for their families and to give them the opportunity of living a more respectable life. There have been many derogatory terms such as “negro” and “retard” that have been removed from the Library of Congress’ subject headings and “illegal aliens” should be added to that list. The library of Congress should prevent this from happening again by enforcing stronger policies when accepting terms that can cause controversies between two large groups of people. Even though the debate on the term “illegal aliens” continues to exist, it is important that people fight for what they think is right and for what they think they deserve.

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