Jimmy Carter: Originator of the Orwellian Term 'Undocumented Immigrant'

How the former president manipulated immigration enforcement policy to influence elections.

On the tail of the firestorm that Hillary Clinton ignited by describing supporters of Donald Trump as belonging in her “basket of deplorables” because they support immigration law enforcement, purportedly out of xenophobia and other irrational fears, Jimmy Carter went public with his outrageous proclamations that there is a “resurgence of racism”: As CBS News reported,

Carter said some white Americans stay quiet when they see discrimination or segregation, fearful of losing a “privileged” position in society. He said that amounts to acceptance of “discrimination and animosity and hatred and division.”

Carter, a lifelong Baptist, often spoke about his faith during his political career. Now 91, he continues to teach Sunday school several times a month at a church in his hometown of Plains, Georgia.

Carter said he wanted the event to stay nonpolitical, but described “some degree of embarrassment” about the ongoing presidential campaign between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. He said Americans’ multiple races, ethnicities and religions form “a beautiful mosaic” and said the country has been “resilient” following other periods of deep division, including the Civil War.

It was, as you will see, Jimmy Carter who intentionally twisted the public perception about immigration law enforcement for political purposes in ways that most Americans likely don’t know.

The term “alien” has all but been stricken from the vernacular when applied to foreigners who are present in the United States.  Some “journalists” and politicians actually become agitated when the term “illegal alien” is used to describe aliens who are illegally present in the United States, equating that terminology with “hate speech.”

Most folks attribute this attitude to political correctness.  However, this is not at all the case.  Those who attribute the removal of the term “alien” from conversations and even documents that involve immigration to “political correctness” are actually supporting the absurd notion that the term “alien” is a pejorative.  Under Section 101 of the Immigration & Nationality Act (Definitions) an alien is defined simply as: “any person not a citizen or national of the United States.“ 

There is absolutely nothing insulting about that definition.  It is a statement of fact.  A person who is present in the United States is either a citizen or he/she is not.  A non-citizen is an alien.  There is absolutely nothing judgmental or negative about that term.  

The effort to expunge the term “alien” is Orwellian and is attributable to none other than Jimmy Carter who, shortly after he was sworn into office, issued directives to the INS field offices demanding that immigration employees, including the enforcement personnel, immediately stop using the term “illegal alien” to describe aliens who were illegally present in the United States.

I was an INS agent back then and when we got those orders from our bosses we at first thought it was some sort of bad joke.  Then we found out it was no joke.  We were warned that extreme disciplinary measures might be taken against anyone who ignored the admonition about the terminology.

I got so angry I began to refer to illegal aliens not as “undocumented workers,” as we were initially ordered (soon followed by the term “undocumented immigrants”), but as “pre-citizens.”

I knew I was on to something when I receive a phone call, several months later, from a Border Patrol agent who had just arrested a “pre-citizen” and discovered I had the immigration file relating to this individual.  He needed me to send him that file.  

The reason that the term “alien” was problematic for Carter is that it provided clarity to the issue of immigration.  Con artists hate clarity.  Burglars prefer to operate in the dark and swindlers seek to keep their victims in the dark.

The goal of referring to illegal aliens as being “undocumented immigrants” was to obfuscate the fact that such aliens had violated our laws that were enacted to prevent the entry of foreign nationals whose presence in the United States would be harmful to America and/or Americans.

Furthermore, aliens have no inherent right to enter the United States or be present in the United States. United States citizens, however, may never be denied entry into the United States.  This is an important distinction.  

By using the term “undocumented immigrant” Carter attempted to convince Americans that since the United States is a “nation of immigrants” anyone who would deny immigrants entry into the United States, and worse yet, seek to deport them, was being “anti-immigrant” and un-American.

It was Jimmy Carter who accepted huge numbers of illegal aliens from Cuba fleeing the oppression of Castro’s communist regime.  Embedded within that flow of illegal aliens were criminals and mentally ill Cubans that Castro sent to the United States and that Carter welcomed with open arms. 

This parallels the way that Obama and Hillary insist that we admit tens of thousands of Syrian refugees despite the warnings from CIA Director John Brennan that ISIS is attempting to embed its terrorist operatives in refugee flows and the warnings from FBI Director James Comey that there is no way to vet these refugees.

A false narrative has been created that “Latino voters” oppose secure borders and effective immigration law enforcement and want unknown millions of illegal aliens to be granted lawful status.  This notion that an ethnic group of American citizens have goals that are at odds with other Americans is the epitome of racism.

Yet we continually hear the mantra from the pollsters, pundits and politicians that the way to appeal to “Latino voters” is to not enforce our immigration laws.

I know many Americans of Latino ethnicity who are outraged by this false assertion that is divisive and creates the insulting illusion that the great majority of illegal aliens in the United States are Latinos.  In point of fact, it is estimated that nearly half of all illegal aliens present in the United States did not evade the inspections process conducted along the U.S./Mexican border but actually entered the United States through ports of entry, but then went on to overstay their authorized period of admission or otherwise violated the terms of their admission into the United States.

Changing terminology was only the beginning of Carter’s assault on the enforcement of our immigration laws.  During the census that was conducted during his presidency, he ordered that INS agents not arrest illegal aliens without first getting authorization from Headquarters.  We were told that the administration was determined that every illegal alien be counted during the census.

This may, at first blush, sound fairly innocuous.  However, this was an obvious effort to gerrymander the apportionment of the seats in the House of Representatives and, ultimately, the votes in the Electoral College that would directly impact the presidential elections.

Every ten years the official census is conducted to determine, by population, how many seats each state would get in the House of Representatives.  This then determines how many electoral votes each state gets.  At the time of the Carter administration, most illegal aliens lived in large cities which tended to vote for Democratic candidates.  If those cities were determined to have more residents, irrespective of whether or not those residents were America citizens, those states would gain seats in the House of Representatives.

INS agents were outraged by this policy decision promulgated by Jimmy Carter that brought immigration law enforcement to a virtual standstill for months.  However, it was apparently a harbinger of things to come with Mr. Obama and his executive orders.

Carter was literally “playing politics” with immigration law enforcement and, in so doing, established a dangerous and anti-American precedent for those charged with securing our nation’s borders and enforcing our immigration laws. 

This has served as the blueprint for the current administration and would also serve as the blueprint for Hillary Clinton, if she is given the chance.  

Don’t take my word for it, take her word for it as it appears on her official website wherein she promises that within 100 days of taking office she would push Comprehensive Immigration Reform to provide millions of illegal aliens with lawful status and a pathway to citizenship.

Given the chance, Clinton would make Carter look tough on immigration law enforcement even though the 911 commission warned that failures of the immigration system enabled the terrorists to enter the United States and embed themselves.  Even though there are an estimated 95 million working age Americans who have left the labor force and her program would add millions of authorized workers to that overflowing labor pool.

While American schools are struggling to provide quality education to millions of American children, especially within minority communities, if Hillary provided millions of illegal aliens with lawful status, those aliens would immediately have the absolute right to petition the government to have their minor children admitted to the United States legally.  

Potentially, millions of these children would be admitted into the United States and immediately be enrolled in schools across the United States with disastrous results for American and resident alien children who are desperate for a good education in those schools.

But then, as Hillary is known to say, on occasion, “What difference does that make?”