SEOUL, Aug. 11 (Korea Bizwire) — There are voices in South Korea arguing that the use of the term ‘illegal aliens’ is no longer appropriate.
The proponents of this idea claim that it’s not desirable to stigmatize certain immigrants by using this type of term.
Public health authorities revealed in late April that the number of foreigners staying in South Korea without proper visas stood at about 390,000. Many people were surprised by such a huge number of illegal aliens.
The announcement also garnered attention as it used the term ‘undocumented foreigners’ instead of illegal aliens.
The national emotion, in general, is not favorable to foreigners who entered without going through legitimate immigration processes, or have no visa or other permit to remain in South Korea.
Nonetheless, there are voices calling for the use of other terms, and abstain from referring to these individuals as illegal aliens.
Such a move is in tune with the international community’s efforts to protect the human rights of illegal migrants by changing the terms used to refer to them.
Starting from the United Nations in 1970s to the European Union in recent days, a variety of international organizations have held discussions to use the term ‘undocumented migrants’ instead of ‘illegal aliens.’
Choi Yoon-cheol, a professor at Konkuk University Law School, recently said in an academic forum that the term ‘illegal aliens’ makes the foreigners who violate the immigration control laws look like ordinary criminals and recognizes them as a subject of social criticism.
“Instead of calling them illegal aliens, it’s better to use more neutral terms such as ‘illegal aliens,’ ‘stay qualification violators,’ or ‘unqualified migrants,’” he added.
As such, discussions are actively underway, but there are some who have a negative view of such changes. Some netizens said, “People staying illegally are illegal aliens. What else we can call them?”
J. S. Shin (firstname.lastname@example.org)