What is an ‘immigrant’?
Both “illegal immigrant” and “undocumented immigrant” are conflicted phrases and have no place in any serious discussion about immigration. An “immigrant” has long been defined in U.S. law and the IRS tax code as someone who has already been granted legal permanent residency in the United States. So by definition, an immigrant can neither be “illegal” nor “undocumented.”
The legally correct terms are either “alien” or “migrant” when referring to a person who hopes to be granted legal permanent residency in the U.S., i.e. wishes to become an immigrant some day. Using precise language is one of the necessary first steps in addressing immigration issues successfully. – Ron Workman, Pismo Beach – Janis Scott, Arroyo Grande