Every October, in preparation for Halloween, all the department stores and party stores compete to create the most extravagant and original costumes.
This year was no different than any other. However, one of the creations caused quite a stir among the Hispanic immigrant population of the United States.
The outfit, dubbed the “Illegal Alien Costume for Halloween,” consisted of an orange prison jumpsuit, an alien alien mask, and a fake green card. The words “Illegal Alien” were stamped on the jumpsuit’s back and chest in bold black text.
There are several variations on the costume, one of which includes a full mask with a baseball cap and a mustache on the handlebars. This particular variation sparked heated debate in many Latin American communities. Many Hispanic immigrants affirmed that this costume is offensive and perpetuates a stereotype, and also very unfavorable.
The term “illegal alien” is the official government term for those in the country without a visa. However, many politicians and the media avoid using the term because Hispanic immigrants feel that the term is only used to describe Latin Americans and Mexicans.
One of the biggest opponents of the sale of the costume is the Los Angeles-based group Coalition for Humane Immigration Rights. The coalition, also known as CHIRLA, was adamant in asking several large companies to remove the costumes from their shelves. Many of them, including retail giants Target and Amazon.com, delivered.
However, not everyone shares the same opinions on this issue. Many people believe that refusing to sell the costume is a clear attack on our freedom of expression. William Gheen, head of the Americans for Legal Immigration political action committee, said he saw the costume and thought it was funny.
Gheen has also suggested that Latin American immigrants are responsible for bringing an influx of tuberculosis to the United States. However, there is no evidence to support these claims. According to a recent government study, tuberculosis is at an all-time low.
I think the costume probably started as a joke and a way to beat the competition. With the economy in a depressed state, many people will do their best to stand out from the crowd.
This situation also recalls a quote from former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Oliver Wendell Holmes. He said, “The right to move the fist ends where the other man’s nose begins.”
In this case, the fist was the illegal alien Halloween costume. The only question on my mind is whether the fist swung too much and hit the noses of all Hispanic immigrants. What you think?