According to a CBS report, Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor has stated that labeling illegal immigrants as criminals is insulting.
Sotomayor was asked at a talk at Yale Law School later in the day about her use of the term “undocumented immigrants” rather than the traditional illegal alien. Sotomayor characterized the issue as a regulatory problem and said labeling immigrants criminals seemed insulting to her.“I think people then paint those individuals as something less than worthy human beings and it changes the conversation,” Sotomayor said.
Firstly, no one is painting them as "less than human". That's a mis-characterization of the opinions of those who oppose illegal immigration. It's unfair to the point of absurdity. But that's often the point when liberals talk about conservatives. Mis-characterize their positions and then ridicule them. That's right out of the Alinsky playbook (which can still be countered by the way).
Secondly, if I could direct your attention to the dictionary definition of the word criminal:
: involving illegal activity : relating to crime: relating to laws that describe crimes rather than to laws about a person's rights: morally wrong
The word illegal is in the definition of criminal. Not unexpectedly, the definition of illegal includes criminal as a synonym, below the definition.
: not allowed by the law : not legal: not allowed by the rules in a game
Illegal immigration is called illegal because it is being done outside the law. The very definition of illegal indicates criminal activities. It is not the right of a non-American citizen to become one, without due process, and a legal application to become a citizen, or even a visitor.
What is insulting Justice Sotomayor, is that your opinion has been elevated to the level of the Supreme Court - the ultimate arbiter of legal justice in America - when it appears you do not even understand the basic concepts of law (at least, in this instance).
Interestingly, there's an article at PolicyMic that leverages the global warming crowd's tactics of changing the labels and argues that we should stop using the very term illegal immigrant. The points it makes are a likely reflection of Sotomayor's thinking on the issue.
Aside from the fact that the term "illegal immigrant" is not legally accurate, it completely dehumanizes and wrongfully criminalizes millions of people instead of their actions.
The point is their actions are indeed illegal (even in the cases when it is unintentional like it may be with second generation illegal immigrants). The word, used in conjunction with the word immigrant, is a way to differentiate between illegal and legal immigrants. Period. We don't say illegal jaywalkers because the fact that it is illegal is implied - there is no 'legal' jaywalking .
The other arguments made in the PolicyMic article by the way, are fatuous and based on the clichéd and ridiculous notion that American immigration laws are "draconian". That point isn't even worth a counter-argument. However, if you want one as Forbes noted, the United States is the most legal immigration friendly country in the world in raw numbers. Without getting into a debate about the right level on a percentage basis (based on infrastructure and the relative ability to absorb more immigrants), the United States ranked in the top 25 of countries around the world. That's not bad.
Illegal immigration must be addressed, and it must be addressed intelligently. What the left, including Justice Sotomayor, are doing, is promoting a political advantage for themselves under the guise of acting humanely. No one is suggesting rolling up in trucks and deporting children back to Cuba by force like Bill Clinton did. Well, almost nobody. But letting everyone in with amnesty will be as successful as a one-size-fits-all health care solution.