Rep. Conyers: Immigrants Aren't 'Illegal' —They're 'Out of Status'

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Today's big immigration hearing at the House Judiciary Committee got off to a rocky start this morning, when Rep. John Conyers opened the proceedings by asking everyone to please stop saying the words "illegal immigrants." Conyers is the Ranking Democrat on the committee, and he may have tipped his hand on which side of the debate he's going to come down on:

“I hope no one uses the term ‘illegal immigrants’ here today. Our citizens are... the people in this country are not illegal, they are out of status, they are new Americans that are immigrants, and I think that we can forge a path to citizenship that will be able to pass muster.” 

In other words, an immigrant is just a citizen you haven't met yet. 

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Naturally, quite a few conservatives (and some liberals, too) were not impressed with his massaging of the English language, leading to some rather humorous attempts to match Orwellian formulation:

I'm not a thief, I'm just an ‘out of status’ owner. #fb #tcot…

— Aaron M Arnwine (@aaronarnwine) February 5, 2013

I guess bank robbers are "Unauthorized Withdrawers": Rep. Conyers,” They Are Citizens “Out Of Status”… via @sharethis

— ToryBoston (@concreteczar) February 5, 2013

Conyers: "Illegal Immigrants" are "Out of Status"... OK, so I have a feeling there will be a lot of 'out of status' AR-15s shortly....

— Kevin Burkett #TGDN (@texasyankee77) February 5, 2013

& a pot dealer is an unlicensed pharmacist RT@twitchyteam: Rep. Conyers: They're not ‘illegal immigrants,' they're 'out of status' Americans

— David Zupan (@david_zupan) February 5, 2013

So following Rep. Conyers' lead, the poor are not ‘poor'- they're 'out of cash' Americans. #tcot

— Josh Painter (@Josh_Painter) February 5, 2013

Preferred term is Freedom Walkers MT @ashleyrparker: Rep. Conyers: "I hope no one uses the term 'illegal' immigrants here today."

— daveweigel (@daveweigel) February 5, 2013

Orwell chucklesRT: @twitchyteam: Rep. Conyers: They're not ‘illegal immigrants,' they're 'out of status' Americans

— DrewM (@DrewMTips) February 5, 2013

Obama used it six times in Las Vegas speech. RT @nowwithalex: Let's hope! @mikescotto: Rep. Conyers: I hope we don't use the term illegal.

— Byron York (@ByronYork) February 5, 2013

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