The manner in which American society characterizes unauthorized immigration has changed significantly over the last several decades, entailing a growing emphasis on the legality of migrants. Through the 1930s, the categories employed to describe unauthorized immigrants were such that they differentiated largely between the categories of “legitimate” and “illegitimate” or “ineligible.”1 The contemporary emphasis on “illegals” (as opposed to “wetbacks” or “undesirables”) is of relatively recent origin. A database search of judicial decisions, for example, found no reference to the term “illegal” (in regards to immigrants) prior to 1950 (Neuman 1993: 1899). Over the last few decades, however, public and official discourse has increasingly employed “illegal” to describe unauthorized migrants to the point where, today, it is almost exclusively the term of choice.