Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Framing of Immigration

by George Lakoff, Sam Ferguson

Framing is at the center of the recent immigration debate. Simply framing it as about “immigration” has shaped its politics, defining what count as “problems” and constraining the debate to a narrow set of issues. The language is telling. The linguistic framing is remarkable: frames for illegal immigrant, illegal alien, illegals, undocumented workers, undocumented immigrants, guest workers, temporary workers, amnesty, and border security. These linguistic expressions are anything but neutral. Each framing defines the problem in its own way, and hence constrains the solutions needed to address that problem. The purpose of this paper is twofold. First, we will analyze the framing used in the public debate. Second, we suggest some alternative framing to highlight important concerns left out of the current debate. Our point is to show that the relevant issues go far beyond what is being discussed, and that acceptance of the current framing impoverishes the discussion.

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Thursday, July 06, 2006

Super but Undocumented

Re "Truth, Justice and (Fill in the Blank)," by Erik Lundegaard (Op-Ed, June 30):

In all versions of the tale, Superman arrived as an undocumented alien. Conservative bloggers complain because the current movie has dropped specific mention of his struggle for "the American way" of life.

So how can these conservatives support this one undocumented yet assimilated fictional man's struggle for the American way and not that of the 12 million other undocumented, most of whom struggle daily to be part of the American way of life?

John F. Burckardt

Cambridge, Mass., July 1, 2006