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On Monday writer and cultural critic Touré made a case to his co-anchors on NBC News’ “The Cycle” to stop labeling undocumented immigrants as “illegal immigrants.”

“We don’t say treat Martha as an illegal business woman,” Touré said after pointing out being in the country without proper authorization is a civil infraction and not a crime. His co-hosts conservative commentator S.E. Cupp, Salon writer Steve Kornacki and former Congressional candidate Krystal Ball all remained silent and quickly pivoted away from the i-word discussion.

Touré’s comments came in a segment about the Supreme Court hearing arguments over Arizona’s proposition 200, the 2004 measure that required proof of citizenship to vote.

Touré’s comments start at the 4:00 minute mark in the video to the right—below is a rush transcript of his argument:

“You have a world where nobody is being prosecuted for this crime but we must create new laws to stop problems that are not actually happening. But this is what happens when you call people illegal immigrants, they are undocumented workers, they actually have not committed a crime, it’s a civil infraction not a criminal infraction and when you define them as illegal immigrants you’re defining their entire being around criminality. So that leads and makes it easier to say ‘what other crimes are they committing and what other laws do we need to create to keep them from creating crimes. They are not takers, they are makers— they actually pay payroll taxes, 75 percent of them and are not accessing any of those benefits so these are actually people paying in to the system and not benefitting at all and we’re treating them as criminals. We don’t say treat Martha is an illegal business woman, it’s a bit crazy”

Touré’s biography of Prince “I Would Die 4 U: Why Prince Became an Icon” is out today.

Read this online at http://colorlines.com/archives/2013/03/toure_we_dont_call_marta_stewart_an_illegal_business_woman_so_why_do_we_call_immigrants_illegal.html


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