A reader invites me to address a political question:

"Your thoughts on the use of 'immigrant' children vs. 'refugee' children in Sun articles would be appreciated by this inhabitant of the peanut gallery."

Immigrant is an inflammatory word to people who are upset about the number of immigrants illegally in the United States, and those who object to it would prefer not to see the discussion further inflamed.

People who insist on using immigrant for the unprecedented flood of children across the southern border would see use of refugee as euphemistic, an attempt to cloak illegality under humanitarian terminology. 

And some people instead focus on children, recognizing that they present a difficulty that is different from the entry into the country of adults, but the inflamed debate tends to drown them out.*

As far as usage goes, it is a fact that these children are immigrants, though the bare word does not fully describe their unusual status. And refugee, in addition to being a common word, has a specialized legal status. If these children were officially declared to be refugees, then their legal treatment would be different from that of non-refugees entering the country illegally.

So I expect that we will continue to use immigrant rather than refugee, pairing it with children. Mind you, I do not have final say on this. 

 

 

*I see no need to address the fevered fantasy that President Obama is engineering this to line up additional Democratic voters in 2028.