Illiteracy is a terrible thing, especially in an elected state legislator. Maybe if each of us buys a dictionary and sends it to her, she'll get the message? I have to wonder if she was one of the ones who objected so strenuously to the word "niggardly" a few years back. Is it any surprise that our public schools perform so poorly? The legislators who control them cannot recognize the ignorance and illiteracy of the students, when it's no greater than their own. Sometimes I fear for my country. We get the government we deserve. ---------------------------------------- The News-Press: Local & State Bill would mandate nicer term for illegals February 27, 2007 TALLAHASSEE -- A state legislator whose district is home to thousands of Caribbean immigrants wants to ban the term "illegal alien" from the state's official documents. "I personally find the word 'alien' offensive when applied to individuals, especially to children," said Sen. Frederica Wilson, D-Miami. "An alien to me is someone from out of space." She has introduced a bill providing that: "A state agency or official may not use the term 'illegal alien' in an official document of the state." There would be no penalty for using the words. In Miami-Dade County, Wilson said, "we don't say 'alien,' we say 'immigrant.'" She said she encountered the situation when trying to pass a bill allowing children of foreigners to get in-state tuition at colleges and universities. Wilson, who directs a dropout prevention and education program in Miami, said she politely asks witnesses at public hearings on such issues not to use the term. "There are students in our schools whose parents are trying to become citizens and we shouldn't label them," she said. "They are immigrants, through no fault of their own, not aliens." Wilson said the first word isn't as bad as the second. "'Illegal,' I can live with, but I like 'undocumented' better," she said. Asked if her bill (SB 2154) might run afoul of Gov. Charlie Crist's "plain speaking" mandate for government agencies, Wilson said, "I think getting rid of 'alien' would be plain speaking."