Sotomayor: Labeling Illegal Immigrants Criminals Is Insulting


illegalsSupreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who grew up poor in New York City, described Monday how she navigated new worlds of Ivy League universities and the nation’s highest court.

Sotomayor told students at Yale University that she has a competitive drive to improve herself and isn’t afraid to ask questions.

Sotomayor, the first Hispanic on the U.S. Supreme Court, said she didn’t even know what an Ivy League college was when a friend suggested she apply. She wound up attending Princeton and Yale Law School.

On the Supreme Court since 2009, Sotomayor said it was tough at first as justices made references that went over her head. She said joining the high court amounted to joining an ongoing conversation among justices who had served for years.

“I figure I may not be the smartest judge on the court but I’m going to be a competent justice,” she said. “I’m going to try to be the best I can and each year I think my opinions have been getting better. And I’m working at finding my voice a little bit.”

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.

Read more at CBS LOCAL.

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  1. Hey Sonia, just be happy YOU got in to top universities! Those illegal immigrants aint getting in to those colleges.

  2. Not only is it insulting, in most cases it is simply false. It is not, in general, a crime to enter the US illegally; it is a civil violation like a parking ticket. (If you have been previously been deported it *is* a crime and the Obama administration has been aggressively prosecuting such cases.)

  3. Charlie Hall

    You are very wrong. If you enter the US illegally it is a criminal offense per section 1325 of Title 8 of the US Code. Punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both.

  4. A rose by any other name would smell just as sweet.

    theyre illigal. Even those people from any country, who come and over extend a visa are illigal imigrants.

  5. they came here without proper documentation – so instead of saying they did something in violation of the Laws of this Country we play cute little word games and call them undocumented.

    If I go into a restaurant without the proper documents to pay for the meal would you call me an undocumented eater or thief?

    both the undocumented aliens and the undocumented eater did illegal things. why is my slice and coke worse? I only stole from 1 person the other stole from every citizen (ie. the whole Country).

  6. “A rose by any other name smells as sweet…” and an illegal immigrant by any other name receives undeserved benefits and employment opportunities that should go to those who are born here or have undergone the proper procedures for citizenship. No one is suggesting that an illegal alien is a worthless person, only that such an individual has inappropriately by-passed the established process for becoming “legal” with all its ramifications, benefits, and responsibilities. So, Justice Sotomayor, kudos to you for your admirable accomplisments, but how about expecting the same efforts from all other immigrants?

  7. Charlie Hall, you are so very incorrect in your statement that entering the US is a civil violation. It is a crime in violation of section 1325 of Title 8 of the US Code and punishable by a fine, imprisonment, or both. Even for a first time offense.

  8. Whats wrong with saying they are illegal immigrants?
    I guess many enter the US legally – and then just stay on – illegally.
    Eitherway, its not criminal.

  9. Is it a law to enter and live in the US without permission? Example: A stranger sneaks into my home turns out to only be an honest mistake?