Eeek! I said the forbidden term. For the past few years the "preferable" but less accurate term to describe that group has been "illegal immigrants." Even that modified term has been too harsh for many advocates of amnesty who prefer the completely inaccurate term, "undocumented workers." However, in order to cynically sell the public on amnesty, the Democrats are willing to temporarily swallow their pride and use "illegal immigrants" according to a Politico article written by Carrie Budoff Brown who reveals a lot more cynicism on the part of the Democrats than she probably intended:
Long pilloried for being soft on illegal immigration, top Democratic officials have concluded there’s only one way they can hope to pass a comprehensive immigration bill:
Talk more like Republicans.
They’re seizing on the work of top Democratic Party operatives who, after a legislative defeat in 2007, launched a multiyear polling project to craft an enforcement-first, law-and-order, limited-compassion pitch that now defines the party’s approach to the issue.
The 12 million people who unlawfully reside the country? Call them “illegal immigrants,” not “undocumented workers,” the pollsters say.
I'm sure Ms Brown just wanted to demonstrate how "smart" the Democrats have become on the amnesty issue but in that attempt she has also revealed an incredible level of cynicism on their part. Here is more of Brown revealing how the Democrats are attempting to fool the public through the cynical use of nice sounding words:
Strip out the empathy, too. Democrats used to offer immigrants “an earned path to citizenship” so hardworking people trying to support their families could “come out of the shadows.” To voters, that sounded like a gift, the operatives concluded.
Now, Democrats emphasize that it’s “unacceptable” to allow 12 million people to live in America illegally and that the government must “require” them to register and “get right with the law.” That means three things: “Obey our laws, learn our language and pay our taxes” — or face deportation.
President Barack Obama uses the buzzwords. So does the congressional leadership. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), author of the Democratic immigration plan, scolds advocates who refer to illegal immigrants as “undocumented workers.”
Even then, the poll-tested words and phrases will only go so far if Democrats fail to exert discipline and unify behind the get-tough message. And at this point, not all immigration reform advocates have bought into the rhetorical hard line, which aims squarely at winning the political center. Even Sharry, who spearheaded the effort, declines the advice of pollsters to excise “undocumented workers” from his lexicon, saying it feels too much like it plays into conservative efforts to “dehumanize” immigrants.
“When [voters] hear ‘undocumented worker,’ they hear a liberal euphemism, it sounds to them like liberal code,” said Drew Westen, a political consultant who has helped Sharry hone the message through dial testing. “I am often joking with leaders of progressive organizations and members of Congress, ‘If the language appears fine to you, it is probably best not to use it. You are an activist, and by definition, you are out of the mainstream.’”
...Podesta and Sharry assembled a roster of boldfaced Democratic pollsters — Stan Greenberg, Celinda Lake, Guy Molyneux — to figure out how the party would ever get away from one of the most devastating GOP lines of attack, that a comprehensive immigration plan amounted to “amnesty” for illegals.
The results made Greenberg a convert.
His surveys of swing districts in 2006 and 2007 concluded that Democrats took a political risk by discussing immigration. Greenberg thought frustration with immigrants would spawn an environment similar to the welfare backlash in the 1990s and that Democrats needed to get tough on border security before talking about citizenship.But polling that Greenberg, Lake and Molyneux conducted in 2008 proved to Greenberg that Democrats could talk in a way that won over voters. It needed to sound tough and pragmatic, but not overly punitive, the pollsters said. The message beat the amnesty charge in their polling.
The most significant shift in language involves the path to citizenship. Pollsters determined that Democrats sounded as though they wanted to reward illegal immigrants, even though lawmakers almost always laid out that requirements and delays that would precede citizenship.
“It comes back to this idea: We give permission; we set the terms; it’s under our control; and if you meet those conditions, you are us, welcome to America,” Westen said of the new frame.