The Associated Press used Orwellian language to transform illegal immigrants, their families, and the businesses that broke the law by hiring them - into "victims." In the August 16 article, "A small town struggles after immigration raid," AP writer Monica Rhor describes Postville, Iowa, the site of a major immigration raid three months ago that led to the arrest of hundreds of illegal immigrants. She describes those in the town who were affected by the raid as "victims." Rhor writes:
It was as if a tornado had whipped through the town or a flood had swallowed up houses. A disaster. Man-made, but a disaster all the same. Three months after the raid, that's how many in Postville describe the events of May 12.Lives disrupted. People pushed out of jobs and homes. Children separated from parents. Businesses verging towards collapse.And as in any small town swept by disaster, the community quickly banded together to help the victims.
But wait a minute: they're not victims. It seems silly to have to belabor the obvious point that the illegal immigrants arrested were (alleged) lawbreakers, but it needs to be done. And if the illegal immigrants' family members who remain at large are present in the U.S. illegally, then they too are not victims: they're lawbreakers. The businesses in the town that hired the illegal immigrants are also not victims: if management knew of the workers' legal status, they're lawbreakers as well. Perhaps we should take up a collection and buy some dictionaries for the AP.