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Dear Editor:

Regarding the debate on the use of the adjective "illegal" to describe aliens who are present in the United States in violation of the law:

1. The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage (1999) states: "illegal immigrant is the preferred term, rather than the sinister-sounding illegal alien. Do not use the euphemism undocumented." (Italics in original).

2. Section 101(a)(15) of the Immigration & Nationality Act defines the term "immigrant" to mean every alien who is not in one of the non-immigrant alien classifications listed in that section.

3. Black's Law Dictionary (6th Edition) definition of the term "illegal" reads: "Against or not authorized by law. Unlawful."

Based upon these three points, I believe that describing an alien unlawfully present in the United States as an "illegal immigrant" is both accurate and acceptable. Those who disagree with my reasoning may use "undocumented," or any other term, to describe such a alien. While I might not agree with their logic, it would be inappropriate to attack their integrity or character. I only ask that they refrain from similar attacks.

Please continue your declared practice of posting differing points of view on ILW.COM.

Thank you,

Bruce Mulraney
Dallas, TX