How does an illegal alien Halloween costume get on a website “by mistake”? It is a question one might put to Target, the Minneapolis retailer that recently came under fire for its illegal alien costume being offered online for the Halloween season. According to NBC Los Angeles, Target spokesperson Joshua Thomas stated that the offending Illegal Alien Halloween costume was being removed after Target had received several complaints regarding it. Of course, it probably did not help that a civil rights group, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, also asked Target to remove the Illegal Alien Halloween costume from the website.
The Illegal Alien Adult Costume pictured on the website offers the description: “He didn’t just cross a border, he crossed a galaxy! He’s got his green card, but it’s from another planet! Sure to get some laughs, the Illegal Alien Adult Costume includes an orange prison-style jumpsuit with ‘Illegal Alien’ printed on the front, an alien mask and a ‘green card.'”
Thomas also told the Associated Press that the offending costume was never intended to be sold by Target but was placed among the Halloween costumes offered online by mistake.
The Illegal Alien costume did not get a laugh out of Angelica Salas, Director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, who asked Target to remove the Halloween costume. She said that it was “distasteful, mean-spirited and ignorant of social stigmas and current debate on immigration reform.”
Usually when someone describes a Halloween costume as “distasteful, mean-spirited and ignorant,” they are speaking about such representations as pregnant nuns, child hookers, or Rush Limbaugh. This year’s debate, however, centers around the stereotyping of a segment of the American population — those that have made their way into the United States illegally. Of course, there’s the visual twist of making the “illegal alien” an extraterrestrial, but the intended offense is boldly presented in the description: “He didn’t just cross the border…” The insult also exists in the orange jumpsuit, which is a ubiquitous color reserved for inmates in jails.
The Hispanic population makes up over 15% of the total population of the United States, according to a report by the U. S. Bureau of the Census. The 2007 Census estimates place the Hispanic population at 45.5 million people. Depending on which estimates are cited the illegal immigrant population in the United States is estimated at anywhere from 6 million to 25 million, only a few of which are actually documented in the decennial census. A great majority of those “illegal aliens” are of Hispanic origin and gain access by crossing the southernmost U. S. border with Mexico. And many of them have family and friends in the U. S. that are either native citizens or naturalized citizens — individuals who more than likely would agree with Angelica Salas and the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles.
The Hispanic population is also considered the fastest growing ethnic population in the United States. Target would do well to carefully screen their “mistakes” before they alienate millions of Hispanic Americans, many of whom shop their stores and influence potential future consumers.
The same could be said of Walgreens.com, toysrus.com, amazon.com, Meijer.com, and buycostumes.com, all companies which sell the Illegal Alien Adult Halloween costume.
But never fear. Halloween caters to the tasteless. And there will be places to find the Illegal Alien Halloween costume. It just remains to be seen how quick someone comes up with the “politically correct” Undocumented Immigrant Halloween costume.