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illegal immigrant

This page is about the dysphemism illegal immigrant

Meaning

a dysphemism for undocumented immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers

For example

  • These illegal immigrants from Syria and Afghanistan will steal our jobs!

  • They're not illegal immigrants! They're refugees from war-torn countries who need our help.

Note:
Also "illegal alien". For advanced learners: Often used to describe people who escape from war, persecution or poverty without being helped by a refugee agency or similar organization. The term "illegal immigrant" makes escaping from war, persecution or poverty independently sound like a crime, and most people and governments who use the term don't want to help these people.

Quick Quiz

Calling refugees "illegal immigrants" makes them sound like

a. victims

b. seekers

c. criminals

Contributor: Matt Errey