This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes", January 30, 2003, that has been edited for clarity.
ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: A Georgia immigration advocate says the term "illegal immigrant" is offensive, and he's lobbying state lawmakers to use the term "undocumented workers" instead.
Is the term "illegal immigrant" a slur or an accurate label?
Joining us now is San Francisco County supervisor Gerardo Sandoval. Good to have you with us, sir.
GERARDO SANDOVAL, SAN FRANCISCO COUNTY SUPERVISOR: Thank you.
COLMES: Would you say that "illegal immigrant," that phrase is as bad as the "n" word?
SANDOVAL: I think in, you know, 30, 40 years time when we look back, we will all realize, yes, it is as bad as the "n" word.
COLMES: You would put it in the same category.
I understand the sensitivity to that phrase. I don't know that I'd call it as bad as the "n" word. However, you know, I think it does dehumanize people. After all, we seem to forget -- and those who are really anti-immigrant forget that these people are humans, and...
COLMES: ... you can't -- a human being cannot be illegal, especially a baby, a child, somebody who's born to somebody in this country who's here illegally. Is that person, you know, inhuman as well? It's an interesting phrase, isn't it?
SANDOVAL: It sure is, and it basically continues to make these folks invisible. You know, they're the ones who are already invisible. They're in the back kitchen washing the dishes. No one's paying attention to them. They don't get the tips.
They're in the hotel rooms after we leave, changing the sheets. And they're in the offices after most people leave their workday, cleaning up and emptying the trashcan.
And it continues to try to basically dehumanize and make them invisible and make them less than human.
COLMES: You know that this point of view will drive conservatives crazy. And those people who are not in favor of doing anything or having any path for citizenship for people who are not here legally, you know that what you're saying is going to drive them nuts.
SANDOVAL: Well, you know, we need to start a process of normalization, especially if we're going to follow through on President Bush's plans to engage in some kind of immigration reform.
And the way we refer to these particular individuals really will help educate people and help change people's attitudes about what kind of immigration reform we accomplish.
If we keep referring to them in the most pejorative terms, they're not going to achieve much reform.
COLMES: I actually applaud President Bush for starting this dialogue. I don't agree with his plan. I think it's too limiting. But I think we -- you know, he started this dialogue from which may come an actual workable plan for a pathway for these people.
SANDOVAL: We absolutely have to find a way to normalize their status here, because they are here, they are working. And you know, we want to normalize it. It makes sense from a public, let's say, health perspective. We don't want them on the bus...
SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Mr. Supervisor, it's Sean Hannity here. Welcome to the program. Thank you for being with us.
Let me ask you something. We have laws on the books, correct?
HANNITY: And if somebody enters this country without the proper documentation, they come here illegally, that's a crime, right?
SANDOVAL: It is. It's a violation of the law.
HANNITY: It's a crime. So they broke the law? They broke the law, right?
SANDOVAL: They have broken the law.
HANNITY: And what they did is illegal.
SANDOVAL: That's correct.
HANNITY: And that is the truth, isn't it?
SANDOVAL: It is correct.
HANNITY: Why would it be -- why would you compare that accurate, truthful adjective with somebody who breaks the law. They're just saying you're here illegally. I mean, how do you go from there to the "n" word? That's insane.
SANDOVAL: Well, because there are lots of laws that are being broken and to suggest -- no disrespect for the law -- suggests that the laws are not legitimate.
HANNITY: No, but if you break the law, you're illegal. You're an illegal immigrant. You're not a legal immigrant. You're an illegal immigrant.
There's nothing racist, racial. There's no -- Frankly, I don't blame people from coming here when they don't have hope and opportunity. I don't blame them.
SANDOVAL: But the fact is, you don't refer to anybody except Latinos, really, as illegal immigrants, and there's a lot of illegal aliens from a lot of European countries...
HANNITY: Anybody from anywhere.
SANDOVAL: ... for example, who are here illegally. No one refers to them that way.
HANNITY: They're illegal immigrants. Anyone who does not respect our laws or our sovereignty is here illegally.
SANDOVAL: There are a lot of nannies in New York from Western Europe that no one would refer to as illegal immigrants.
HANNITY: No, sir. You're wrong.
SANDOVAL: They overstayed their visas.
HANNITY: Sir -- Sir, it is not a term for Hispanics only. It is a term for anybody that has entered this country without proper permission.
SANDOVAL: And that's where you're wrong. You would never see a couple of guys referring to some nanny walking down the street with blonde hair, saying, "Look at that illegal immigrant." But you will hear people saying that about a gal washing dishes in the back...
HANNITY: You know what? I think you make an assumption that is absolutely incorrect. You don't assume just because somebody's washing dishes -- I used to watch dishes in restaurants when I was a kid. I did it for years. I scrubbed pots and pans. That was my background, growing up.
So, you know, nobody's questioning -- It is a matter of respect for this country's laws, respect for our sovereignty, and it is not -- for you to compare this to the "n" word, it diminishes the offensiveness of that term and real racism.
SANDOVAL: A hundred years ago that term was not considered offensive. Today clearly it is, and in 100 years or less, you'll see that "illegal alien," that term "illegal" and...
HANNITY: Political correctness will not go this far. Nobody agrees with you. I mean, only the far, far extreme left. It's not going to -- this is crazy.
SANDOVAL: You get undocumented workers out of the kitchen, and you won't have restaurants operating in most of the big cities in the United States.
COLMES: And many other professions, too.
I thank you very much, Gerardo, for being with us tonight.
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