We’re now apparently in the era where using the term “birthing person” makes you a thoughtful speaker and saying “illegal alien” gets you suspended—at least if you’re one North Carolina high schooler.

Last week, “in Davidson County, North Carolina, 16-year-old student Christian McGhee was suspended for three days for using the term ‘illegal alien’ in class when clarifying the word ‘alien’ in a vocabulary lesson,” writes Donna King, editor in chief of the Carolina Journal.

“A classmate reportedly threatened to fight Christian over his word choice, but both students and their teacher insisted the exchange was innocent, and the other student’s outrage was in jest,” adds King, who notes the absurdity of politically correct terms such as “birthing person” and “uterus owners” in her column about the incident.

So to recap: Christian, a teenager, reportedly didn’t call someone an illegal alien, but simply asked the teacher if he was referring to an illegal alien or, say, a little green creature. But even voicing the term was enough to get him suspended.

It’s insane—but it’s also the natural culmination of the Left’s long war on the term “illegal alien.”

Unsurprisingly, so-called objective journalists were among the first to make the term verboten. In 2013, The Associated Press, which determines the style used by many of America’s newsrooms, banned the term “illegal immigrant.” By 2015, so did ABC and NBC, reported The New Yorker.

Liberal lawmakers soon followed with advocacy.

In 2015, Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, introduced the Correcting Hurtful and Alienating Names in Government Expression (CHANGE) Act. (Yes, that is the real name of the bill.) Under Castro’s bill, federal agencies would be required to use “foreign national” instead of “alien” and replace the term “illegal alien” with “undocumented foreign national.” The current language, Castro said in a statement, tended to “dehumanize” people.

California, always quick to embrace the latest in political correctness, “passed laws in 2015 and 2016 that removed [the word alien] from the state’s labor and education code,” reported The Associated Press.

Meanwhile, in 2019, New York City’s Commission on Human Rights decided it was entirely reasonable to fine people who used the terms “illegal alien” or “illegals” up to $250,000. (Nope, that’s not a typo.)

In 2021, the Biden administration decreed that “illegal alien” and “alien” were terms that U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials should refrain from using. “Noncitizen” was now the preferred term.

“The words we use matter,” lectured Troy Miller, acting commissioner of Customers and Border Protection, in a memo to employees.

That same year, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat, signed a bill banning the use of “illegal alien” in state government contracts, while California Gov. Gavin Newsom, also a Democrat, signed into law a measure banning “alien” from appearing in all state laws. The term, he pontificated, was “an offensive term for a human being.”

So to be clear: Lawmakers focused on banning “hurtful” terms even as “noncitizens” streamed into the country across the southern border. An October report from the House Judiciary Committee estimated that 3.8 million illegal immigrants have entered the country since President Joe Biden was sworn into office.

Biden, who often seems a trifle detached from the policies his administration’s officials aggressively enforce, created an uproar among liberals in March when he referred to the illegal immigrant charged with killing Georgia nursing student Laken Riley, 22, as an “illegal” in ad-libbed remarks during his State of the Union address.

Cue the scolding.

“Just like we should not be implementing Republican policy, we should not be repeating Republican rhetoric,” Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., a member of the ultra-leftist House “squad,” told AP.

Castro, who had tried to ban “alien” back in 2015, sounded similarly distraught. “The rhetoric President Biden used tonight was dangerously close to language from Donald Trump that puts a target on the backs of Latinos everywhere,” Castro posted on X.

Biden, chastened, confessed in an interview days later with MSNBC that he “shouldn’t have used ‘illegal.’ It’s ‘undocumented.’”

Yet here’s where it becomes abundantly clear that a huge disconnect exists between Americans and leftist lawmakers. A Harvard Harris poll asked respondents whether Biden’s use of the word “illegal” in the State of the Union address was “appropriate” or “inappropriate.”

And in this divided era of American politics, a whopping 79% of respondents said it was appropriate. Among Hispanics, 74% said they thought it was appropriate for Biden to call Laken Riley’s killer an “illegal.” That sounds like … consensus.

The Left has long tried to conflate the issues of immigration and illegal immigration, obscuring the difference between extending the opportunity for the American dream to those who have legally applied and waited and those who come in, unvetted, through what is in effect an open border.

As Miller said in his 2021 memo, “The words we use matter.” That’s exactly why the Left is so adamant about making the use of “illegal alien”—a term that clearly denotes reality—as forbidden as a horrendous racial slur.