Breaking and Entering, or “Undocumented Inhabitation?”


By Constantinos E. Scaros

There is something bizarre going on in the United States. Recently in the Greater Los Angeles, CA area, a woman tried to enter the home of a man whom she dated a few times (he ended the relationship) by climbing down his chimney. She became stuck in the chimney and firefighters carefully dismantled the chimney to rescue her. But that is not what’s bizarre.

Sure, waking up and seeing flashing lights in your neighborhood only to find out that someone not named Santa Claus got stuck trying to climb down a chimney is unusual, but not nearly as unbelievable as the mass “climbing down the great big chimney” known as the United States of America, and how that is being treated by comparison.

The woman, Genoveva Nunez-Figueroa, was booked for “illegal entry,” as numerous news sources reported. Illegal entry? Why, that sounds positively offensive! Shouldn’t we call it “undocumented entry?”

If she is booked for illegal entry, if found guilty, does that make her an illegal entrant? Why that’s simply horrible! What a stigma to have to live with! I say we call her an “undocumented inhabitant.” After all, once she became lodged in the chimney, she was technically part of the household. Never mind that she had no right to be there – she was just as much a part of that home as the guy who had a legal – er, “documented” – right to be there.

Does this line of reasoning sound absolutely ridiculous? Of course it does – but, sadly, it is the logic being used throughout America today: enabled by apathetic lawmakers in the federal, state, and local governments, and by politically correct media, millions of people who enter our collective house – the United States – climbing down our chimney, so to speak, uninvited and unannounced – are not called criminals. Their actions are not called illegal. Why, they are not even called “aliens,” which is the federal definition of any human being physically present in the United States who is not a citizen. Instead, they are called “undocumented immigrants.”

As I have written numerous times before, there is no such thing as an “undocumented immigrant.” That is an oxymoron. A legal and factual impossibility. By definition, an “immigrant” is a person who has gone through the formal immigration process to achieve legal permanent residence (colloquially known as a “green card”) – hence the documentation. An “undocumented immigrant,” therefore, is no more possible to exist than a “meat-eating vegetarian.” The term is alien – illegal alien, more specifically, to distinguish such individuals who enter or remain in the United States in violation of federal law from their counterparts, the legal aliens, who wait in line for a very long time and do things the right way – the American way.

So, if we are to sugar-coat the acts of millions of illegal aliens by calling them “undocumented immigrants,” then why brand Ms. Nunez-Figueroa an illegal entrant? By that logic, I insist she be called an “undocumented inhabitant.”

I can hear the backlash now: “It’s not the same thing!” Really? Isn’t it? “No, it’s not. She committed a crime.”  Try again.  “She was going to –” Was going to what? Steal while she was in the house? Vandalize the place? Harm or even kill the owner? Maybe. Or, she was going to try to rekindle the romance. Maybe she would cook a wonderful dinner for him, or clean his house, or do something else really nice in the hopes of getting back into his good graces. The point is, we don’t know.

Just like we don’t know about the intentions of millions of illegal aliens. Granted, very, very few of them (hopefully none) aspire to fly planes into skyscrapers or commit other acts of terror. Also few are those who plan to deal drugs, smuggle weapons, or commit other horrible crimes. Far more are those illegal aliens who are coming here for a better life for themselves and their families. Who want to work hard and – except for the crime of being here without permission in the first place – plan to obey the law. Many will realize this dream, whereas others will not, and, one way or another, will become the nation’s financial burden. The point is – just like we don’t know what Nunez-Figueroa’s motives were, we also don’t know the motive of every illegal alien. And yet, we have no problem identifying Nunez-Figueroa as an illegal entrant, but heaven forbid we use those same terms to describe the millions of aliens who have also committed illegal entry – who are, in fact, trespassing on U.S. soil just like that woman was trespassing in that man’s home while stuck in his chimney. Yet they, for some reason, are exalted to the status of “undocumented immigrants.”

To amend a well-known phrase: “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will change others’ perceptions of me.”

The optimist in me would like to think that Nunez-Figueroa’s breaking and entering is going to be a wake-up call, that our collective chimneys are being broken into on a daily basis. Maybe if you, the readers, can appreciate the analogy and spread the word, America will finally wake up. Better late than never, after all.