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Mike Sutton
Mike Sutton
Dr Mike Sutton is the author of 'Nullius in Verba: Darwin's greatest secret'.
Posted in History / United States / 20th Century

The British Coined Illegal Immigrant Myth

Jul. 28, 2016 8:27 am

Twitter is a wonderful thing. Today it raised my curiosity when I saw a well intentioned Tweet from the popular Twitterer Dr Brooke Magnanti - who defines herself online as: "Author, forensic scientist & ex call girl Belle de Jour"

Today, Dr Maganti Twittered:

"The term illegal immigrant was first used in 1939 as a slur by British toward Jews fleeing the Nazis.

Maganti cites a CNN article, authored by Charles Garcia, to support her bold assertion of fact:

"The term "illegal immigrant" was first used in 1939 as a slur by the British toward Jews who were fleeing the Nazis and entering Palestine without authorization. Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel aptly said that "no human being is illegal."

I suspect that perhaps Garcia - writing for CNN - might possibly have got this notion from reading, and taking the word alone of the mighty Oxford English Dictionary (OED) :

1. = illegal immigrant n. at Compounds.

1939 Times 31 May 11/1 Placing the illegals in concentration camps is no solution.

Of course, all good scholars should in fact abide by the ancient principle of "Nullius in Verba" (on the word alone of no one) and go look for themselves before asserting a knowledge claim of any kind. Interestingly, Maganti blocked Supermythbuster's Twitter account for referring her to the 1888 publication of the apparently original American coinage of the term 'illegal immigrant'. How strange of her.

Genuine scholars and first class journalists might wish to know that today, using the same IDD research method that proved the scientific establishment wrong in their "knowledge claims" that no naturalist had read Patrick Matthew's full prior-published origination of macroevolution by natural selection (see Sutton 2016) I found the independently verifiable published evidence that it was the Americans, in 1888, and not the British, in the 20th century, who were first to coin the term "illegal immigrant".

The term in fact has its provenance in discussions of the the Scott Act (1888), which was enacted in order to seek to control Chinese migrant labour in the USA.

Congressional Record: Proceedings and Debates (1888) Congress, Volume 19, Part 10 - page 489


Public Domain

The `1889 - apparent - origin of the term "Illegal Alien" in the USA

The term is used thereafter many times in the USA, including its earliest use in the 20th century.

The fact of the matter is that the Americans and not the British first coined and then first continued to use this term.

Hupping and Austin (2010 page 230) provide some very useful background information.on the Scott Act of 1888.

Illegal Alien

Despite a plethora of websites and books claiming the term "illegal alien" is of 1950's or 60's coinage the earliest published use of it as a term - as opposed to being together as separately punctuated words (e.g here) - is in 1927. Again this apparent first coinage is American. In: Stoddard. L. (1927) Re-forging America: the story of our nationhood on page 210.You can view a re-print and read the context of the book at Amazon. Here.

For more information on mythbuster with the IDD method - why not look at Chapter Three of my book Nullius in Verba for my A-Z of busted myths. Its free to view.

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