MSNBC Anchor Touts ‘Visionary’ Amnesty Bill, Replacement of Word ‘Alien’ with ‘Non-Citizen’

MSNBC Live guest host Geoff Bennett sounded like a very enthusiastic backer of dramatic immigration “reform” on Thursday. Bennett introduced the bill to offer a pathway to citizenship for roughly 11 million illegal immigrants in glowing terms: “as one source put it to me, this person said this bill is visionary.”

But he wanted to ask his left-wing guest Marielena Hincapie, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, if as someone who is “invested in rights for immigrants,” if it was acceptable for Team Biden to start with a really bold proposal and then break it into pieces if that can get it passed. 

Then he wanted to share how this new bill dumps any legislative reference to “illegal aliens” in favor of the term “non-citizen.” 

 

 

BENNETT: There’s something about this bill, something included in it that stood out to me and it calls for changing the term alien, changing that word the Trump Administration used, to non-citizen and the administration says they did that to better reflect the president’s values on immigration.

It strikes me that  when you use you use a word like alien to refer to people, it makes it easier, politically, to dehumanize them and that’s how you lead to policies where we saw children stripped from their parents at the southern border. Give us a sense of the significance of that change, changing the word alien in the legislation to non-citizen. 

Continuing with the theme that history began in 2017, Hincapie declared:

HINCAPIE: Absolutely. Language is very powerful and language matters greatly, as we have seen and heard over the last years. Look, the term alien — this came up at the House Judiciary Committee hearing last week where some of the Republicans were saying, that is a term of art, that’s been in the law books. That term was placed there by someone by some legislator that actually was dehumanizing. It utters and connotes this person is not a human, right? It’s dehumanizing and otherizes immigrants and President Biden is right

“That term was placed there” and first used, not by the Trump Administration, but by those who passed the Naturalization Act of 1790 and it is simply a synonym for foreigner.

Hincapie then moved back to the whole proposal and portrayed anyone opposed to amnesty as being opposed to the nation’s values:

This is a moment where our laws should be reflective of our values as a nation. This country prides itself on being a nation of immigrants. We have roots in indigenous people, African-Americans who were descendants of slavery and everyone else is an immigrant or child or grandchild of an immigrant. We should be using language that recognizes our humanity and that the law recognizes our contributions and puts people on a path to citizenship. 

Bennett then brought the segment to a close by telling Hincapie that “Every time I talk to you, I learn something new.” But, on Thursday, he learned something that wasn’t true, using that false information to demonize anyone who doesn’t support amnesty.

This wasn’t the only place MSNBC’s owners at Comcast were featuring Hincapie and other progressives. On Wednesday, Comcast and its Spanish-language channel Telemundo were listed as sponsors for the State of Latino America Virtual Summit, where they discussed a “bold” agenda for the Left: 

Fulfilling a progressive vision for America! Join Us https://t.co/zWwD5oj7FJ Wednesday, February 17 at 1:00 PM EST / 10:00 AM PST / 12:00 PM CST

#stateoflatinoamerica #latinosummit2021 #LULAC pic.twitter.com/TNxPld9o8j
— LULAC (@LULAC) February 13, 2021

This segment was sponsored by Verizon.

Here is a transcript for the February 18 show:

MSNBC

MSNBC Live with Craig Melvin

11:39 AM ET

GEOFF BENNETT: In doing reporting about this immigration bill, as one source put it to me, this person said this bill is visionary, but the overall goal is progress and that the White House and Democrats on The Hill are potentially okay with breaking this bill into pieces if that’s what ultimately proves successful. So, a question to you as someone who invested in this work and invested in rights for immigrants, is that approach okay with you? What priorities do you want to see lawmakers take when they push this bill forward? 

11:42

BENNETT: There’s something about this bill, something included in it that stood out to me and it calls for changing the term alien, changing that word the Trump Administration used, to non-citizen and the administration says they did that to better reflect the president’s values on immigration. It strikes me that when you use you use a word like alien to refer to people, it makes it easier, politically, to dehumanize them and that’s how you lead to policies where we saw children stripped from their parents at the southern border. Give us a sense of the significance of that change, changing the word alien in the legislation to non-citizen. 

MARIELENA HINCAPIE: Absolutely. Language is very powerful and language matters greatly, as we have seen and heard over the last years. Look, the term alien — this came up at the House Judiciary Committee hearing last week where some of the Republicans were saying, that is a term of art, that’s been in the law books. That term was placed there by someone by some legislator that actually was dehumanizing. It utters and connotes this person is not a human, right? It’s dehumanizing and otherizes immigrants and President Biden is right. This is a moment where our laws should be reflective of our values as a nation. This country prides itself on being a nation of immigrants. We have roots in indigenous people, African-Americans who were descendants of slavery and everyone else is an immigrant or child or grandchild of an immigrant. We should be using language that recognizes our humanity and that the law recognizes our contributions and puts people on a path to citizenship. 

BENNETT: Marielena Hincapie, Every time I talk to you, I learn something new. Thanks for coming on. Thank you. 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *