Target’s humorous “illegal alien” costume


Dear Target,

What’s up with this “Illegal Alien” costume?

I don’t get why a corporation that boasts about giving back to the community (can’t say I didn’t thoroughly enjoy the ¡Bienvenido Dudamel! concert a few weeks ago) and celebrates Nuestra Gente would sell such a despicable costume. (I know not all undocumented immigrants are Latino, but we do make up a plurality of the population.)

Is it to make a buck? Is that enough to alienate (no pun intended) undocumented immigrants, their allies and our dollars? Couldn’t you make a buck by not selling “humorous costumes” that demean and make light of the situation faced by many undocumented immigrants and advance dehumanizing language?

Is it humorous that thousands die trying to cross the US/Mexico border? Between 1998-2004 1,954 migrants died on the perilous journey north source). Since 2004, the Arizona Star Border Death Database has recorded 1,193 deaths at the border.

Funny, no?

What about exploitation from shady employers? How about the rise in anti-Latino hate crimes?


Last, what about undocumented youth who face an educational glass ceiling as college is out of reach without financial aid and high non-resident fees?

I expected something different from Target. I was wooed by those free days at museums, free concerts and all that red (my favorite color). I thought Target wouldn’t be like other vendors who sell racist costumes playing on tired stereotypes and caricatures.

Qué lástima.


Disgruntled Target Shopper

P.S. Anyone who pays $39.99 (plus shipping and tax) for such a costume is not only racist, but also stupid.

Updated: Target also sells a tequila pop n’ dude and Mexican costumes for adults and kids. Nopal not included. Guess they are showing their appreciation for mi gente.

42 thoughts on “Target’s humorous “illegal alien” costume

  1. I don’t know whether I’m more offended by the costume it self or the price. Fucking Target. This is no different that if someone dressed up like a “Sambo”. There is no excuse for putting stuff out like this.

  2. This is hipster ironic racism, people are going to act like, “Oh you don’t get it, you’re stupid for being mad it’s irony.”

    Yeah fuck you, that’s what I say to that. Just like the Afros. I am ripping Afros off people’s heads this year.


  3. I just got a response back from Target when I emailed them on this issue:

    “Dear Oddria,
    I’m sorry for the disappointment you had with the Tequila Pop N’ Dude Plus Costume and Illegal Alien Adult Costume on our website.

    We’re always looking at ways to make even better and your comments about these costumes are a big help to us. I’ve passed on your comments to the right team so that they can look into this.

    If you’ve further questions, just give us a call at 1-800-591-3869. We’ll be happy to help you out.

    Thanks for getting in touch with us. I hope you’ll visit us again soon.”

    I emailed them here:

    I also feel like going into my local Target and also asking for the District Manager’s contact info.

  4. I don’t know why people are calling this racist? There is no human depicted here. It is an alien.. as in the non-human kind. Also, This “alien” has done something illegal, hence the orange jumpsuit. Why is it racist to make fun of criminals?

    I’m sorry that so many people died crossing the border. I’m guessing conditions are worse where they are from. This costume is not making fun of deaths. It’s satire towards criminals.

    And the other things you mentioned, high non-resident fees. Should I expect to go to any other country and get free stuff or get the price any citizen would get when I’m not a citizen and no one knows I’m living there because I never bothered to become a citizen?

    I know citizenship can take a long time but, I know too many people who haven’t even tried. That’s sad. If you expect to be treated like a citizen (I mean, you took the journey to get here, so obviously you think there is something to be had here) then start the process to become one.

    This costume is not racist, it’s satire.

  5. The space alien is messed up. That drunk dude costume is worse. That is really bad on so many messed up levels.

  6. I thought it was offensive, my boyfriend didn’t. He just said “so”. Then again he says “so” to everything. I put a comment on their reviews, lets see if they post it.

  7. “This costume is not racist, it’s satire.” Human

    This costume is an example of hipster racism. It IS satire, that’s the new way to be racist, but then you go, oh no it’s just satire or irony or whatever save you have up your sleeve.

    “I define hipster racism (I’m borrowing the phrase from Carmen Van Kerckhove) as ideas, speech, and action meant to denigrate another’s person race or ethnicity under the guise of being urbane, witty (meaning “ironic” nowadays), educated, liberal, and/or trendy.”
    AJ Plaid, Racialicious

    I used to just call it the “tattooed, pseudo progressive, over-educated, asshole” problem, or the I’m too smart to be racist or I’m not touching your racism. This is worse than the traditional kind of obvious racism, because the offending person will fight you to the death claiming they are not racist and you’re stupid for being offended.

    It’s a win-win for satitical assholes everywhere. You can be racist, sexist, insulting, complete big gigantic asshole, but no one can actually call you on it, because you pull out your satire or irony card.

    And before anyone says Target is not hipster, its just where this brand of racism started it obviously has not ended with that demographic.


  8. To all those ignorant people who don’t know anything about immigration laws first get informed before you start commenting about illegal immigrants not hurrying up to become citizens. If it was that easy do you really think there would be any illegal immigrants! So catch up on your reading first!

  9. Have they removed it from Target now? I just tried the link to its website and it seems to be gone.

    The ignorance of those who decided to carry the thing is amazing, given the huge number of immigrants that shop there and contribute toward their profits. (And it insults both the undocumented as well as the documented since the ad shows the “illegal alien” holding a greencard.) Maybe “Human” works there?

  10. For all you trolls that found this post and want to post your anti-immigrant bullshit, don’t bother. Your stupid comments are not going to be let through.

  11. Looks like the comments on blogs and on the site got Target to remove the product.

    It was like an instant boycott – a lot of people said they wouldn’t shop there as long as they sold the product.

    If that sentiment became widespread in Los Angeles, Target would be pretty empty.

  12. Hector, it’s one thing to express an opposing viewpoint, like “Human” did above (or the criticism you just wrote), but it’s quite another thing to spew hateful vitriol in a public forum, which is what some anti-immigrants so often do. Poison like that shouldn’t be given airtime.

  13. @ browne:

    Good definition. I don’t know the mentality of the person who designed the costume or the people who made it or even Target for carrying it, maybe it was some of what you defined here.

    @ barbie:

    I don’t know what people you are referring to. I haven’t seen anyone say the opposite of what you have. You are right. I said in my post that citizenship can take a long time, but you don’t break into a store because you are impatient waiting for it to open. That would be a crime. The illegal immigrants (or as some people like to sugar coat it “undocumented”, which is essentially true as well) are the ones giving immigration a bad rap. Immigration is fine if done the right way. Get a green card or even a work visa and seriously consider citizenship if you plan to stay.

    @ El Chavo!:

    You and Chuy are correct. Anti-immigrants should leave their comments to themselves. This country was founded on immigration. I believe anyone should be allowed to come here and hopfully have a better life than from where they came (if that happens to be the reason for comming here). I just hope they do it the right way.

    Oh btw, I don’t work at Target but I shop there sometimes because it is close to where I work and live.

  14. “Here are the names and locations of 11 of the principal companies that constitute the Anglo-Dutch-Swiss food cartel. Through multiple forms of concentration, these companies dominate grain, meat, dairy, and other food production, and the processing and distribution system of food, all the way to the supermarket. Very little food moves on the face of the earth without the food cartel having a hand in it.

    Philip Morris (Headquarters: New York), Unilever (Headquarters: London), Nestle (Headquarters: Switzerland), IBP (Headquarters: Nebraska), ConAgra (Headquarters: Nebraska), Archer Daniels/Midland Topher (Headquarters: Illinois), Andre (Headquarters: Switzerland), Bunge & Born (Headquarters: Brazil), Louis Dreyfus (Headquarters: France), Continental Grain (Headquarters: New York), & Cargill (Headquarters: Minnesota).”

    I think if you are starving, it is pretty smart to go to where the closest source of food is—even if you don’t have a permission slip.

  15. Human
    October 16th, 2009 | 7:57 pm

    I don’t know why people are calling this racist? There is no human depicted here. It is an alien.. as in the non-human kind. Also, This “alien” has done something illegal, hence the orange jumpsuit.



  16. Hector
    October 17th, 2009 | 3:19 pm

    That is right El Chavo is to sensitive to allow any opposing views which don’t agree with his.


    Crying to a blog moderator about having your comments deleted is actually as sensitive as it gets.

  17. Personally I thought the costume was funny. Its for Halloween people dress up as vampires, witches, and aliens all the time. I don’t see a bunch of wiccans boycott the stores every year when they have wart covered witch noses or evil looking witch costumes. Its a holiday of dressing up and having fun. I guess I don’t see the harm criminals and aliens have nothing to do with the Mexican population of this country legal or otherwise. I really don’t see why this needs to be a immigration issue.

  18. it is not racist stupid but not racist grow up flocks plus the price is high make the custumes yourself take card stock print desigh a green card on software orange jumpsuit magic mark write illegal alien on it mask can be found anywhere walmart undergrounds stores tons of places be cheaper that way they recall want make it yourself not racist

  19. just to clarify, in case people are keeping track of who’s hu, i, human (all lower-case, whose last name is “hu”) am not “Human” (capitalized). i’m sure this one-time clarification won’t prevent all future confusion, but it’s a start. thanks, el chavo, for getting my back on this one earlier.

    i think he was right on with his first comment too. if there’s anything humorous, it’s that this alien has a green card AND is stamped illegal. but if i’ve learned anything from cheech and chong, it’s that even being a citizen might not keep you from being treated poorly.

    also, while i disagree with my doppleganger, the capitalized one, on whether the costume is racist, i also find many other target costumes racist, making this particular one just part of the entire tapestry of bad taste in target’s costume dept.

  20. Not too long ago one of the other box chains featured a black doll that came with a stuffed monkey and a banana. Pressure was applied via blogs & a few mainstream media outlet; eventually the doll was pulled and an apology issued. Can that work here for all of these outfits? Or is it too late?

    (and co-sign Browne. Hipster racist jerks)

  21. For the information of those who say that “illegal aliens” should go back and migrate the “right way,” or “wait their turn,” or act like non-Latino (i.e. Asian) immigrants who come here legally and then naturalize…

    Immigration laws are discriminatory and it’s naive to believe that every one of the undocumented immigrants—or most of them, or even a significant minority of them—would have been able to legally move to the US if they had just “waited their turn.” Immigration policy has a lottery system that grants greencards to people “patiently waiting their turn” in their home countries, but it is only open to people who basically don’t need it that much. That is, generally middle- or upper-class folks, particularly those with university degrees and specialized skills in some field or other.

    The fact that most Asian immigrants here have greencards, perform better in school, and are on average less poor (and even when very poor, are more easily able to climb the ladder in time) is a direct function of the fact that the US doesn’t border any Asian country, making it extremely difficult for very poor Asians to jump the border illegally the way Mexicans can. This means, then, that immigrants from Asia are more likely to come with more education and higher incomes. Even in cases when they get here with a tourist visa and they overstay, therefore becoming “undocumented”, they tend to be financially and educationally better off than the average undocumented Mexican immigrant—which is exactly why they were given a tourist visa in the first place.

    Poor people with little or no schooling are not granted tourist visas, much less greencards. So there is no point in “waiting their turn.” The only exceptions to this rule are when the applicant has family in the United States (a parent, a child, a sibling, or a spouse) who is a legal resident and has agreed to sponsor the applicant. But even in these cases, which would benefit a very few anyway, the process is difficult, very costly and takes a lifetime.

  22. alan — “No flags from China, no flags from Mexico. You are here now, you are one of us, act like it.” i hope you remember that next st. patrick’s day. or halloween. or new year’s day. or when you eat pizza and spaghetti. or sushi. or kung pao chicken. or bangers and mash. or hamburgers. or hot dogs. or ketchup (originally created by the chinese). oh, and seeing as torillas and beans are more indigenous foodstuffs than most of what probably comprises your diet, you might wanna start learning to love ’em ’cause you’re here now. act like it.

    don — “They are in this country illegally, and they need to be deported – if they want to move here, they can follow the correct process. Otherwise, they have no rights to complain about anything. Get out, come back to America legally, and then you have a right to bitch. Until then, shut the fuck up.” you’re absolutely right. let’s start with the descendents of all the western europeans who started immigrating here without asking permission and started acting like they owned the place way back in the 1500s and work our way forward. I hope you have a nice seat for the trip back.

  23. Kristine
    October 17th, 2009 | 11:37 pm

    “…people dress up as vampires, witches, and aliens all the time. I don’t see a bunch of wiccans boycott the stores every year when they have wart covered witch noses or evil looking witch costumes.”


    Yeh, the Wiccans definitely assimilated. Everything about them spells patriotism, especially their religion.

  24. Alan
    October 18th, 2009 | 5:03 am

    Thing is, if you came over for education, or a vacation and overstayed your Visa, or you snuck into California then you have broken the law. You should have to pay a heavy fine to stay here just as I pay a fine for getting a traffic ticket.


    Should we take your comparison between illegal immigration and mere speeding as a peak into your conscience, revealing that even you think your vilification of poor, undocumented immigrants looking for work is ridiculous?

  25. Don
    October 18th, 2009 | 10:43 am

    Waah. If you’re so upset about someone making a costume referencing illegal aliens, maybe you should not be an illegal alien?


    I’m not an illegal alien. Still upset about the costumes. What do I get for it? I made the choice, mind you, the choice, to not be an illegal alien. And it was hard.

    In about the 6th grade, a lot of the cooler kids started becoming illegal aliens. I was invited along to do some illegal aliening, but I stuck to Nancy Regan’s credo, I just said no. But, peer pressure would mount up in the junior high and high school years, as pretty much everyone was being an illegal alien by then. I felt isolated because I wasn’t an illegal alien. Girls were doing it. Even the nerds were doing it. One teacher was caught with an illegal alien in the trunk of his car. It was on the news and everything. I stood my ground. Heck, when I became an adult, I realized even my parents were doing it. Went to visit them one day, and you could smell the illegal alien right when you walked in the house. They lit incents, but it was too late. They just looked at me, smiled, and said that they’d been illegal aliens their whole lives, yet..only when us kids were gone. They offered me to be an illegal alien with them. I can’t describe how surreal it was when my father looked at me, with a rolled illegal alien in his hand, and asked in a whispering voice, “Wanna cross the border with me and your mother right now?” I thought about it, as my father wrapped his lips around that illegal alien and started to suck in all of its potent matter, lighting a match at its rear end. But I still said no. I still said no! No way! I signed a pledge in the 5th grade, man. And even though the very officer who gave me my certificate was later found guilty of stealing illegal aliens from the evidence room, amongst a ton of other ethical violations, you can’t judge all police by the behavior of one. I made an oath, period. No excuses! I told my parents goodbye, as my father blew out a cloud of smoke and started to cough. “Don’t be snitchin’ on us to La Migra, son”, he said as I walked out the door, followed by him and my mother laughing frantically. Yeh. Hardy har har. Real funny. They’ll be laughing extra hard when they find out I did i fact inform the U.S. Border Patrol of their illegal activities.

    Bottom line is, Don, I made the choice to not be an illegal alien, and have stuck with that choice my entire life. So, tell me, since I’m not an illegal alien, how could I possibly “stop” being an illegal alien if I don’t like costumes depicting illegal aliens?

  26. There are some wiccans who are upset about the negative stereotypes about witches.

    @alan: get a clue.

    2x what Chuy said. It’s a great summary of the real situation.

    For all the bull and words that have been written about immigration, it seems like none of the millions of writers has ever read the immigration laws, or read a real study of what’s going on with immigration.

    There’s an entire sphere of political “debate” that’s based entirely on misconceptions, posturing, and lying. The real debate, had in the halls of Congress, is based on facts – almost everyone up there knows the real score, but, the average American is left ignorant… because the facts are such a radical departure from the accepted mythology about America.

    My only correction to your comment: there are a lot of undocumented immigrants from different Asian and South Asian countries and the Carribean. They’re just not as numerous. BUT, the point being, overstaying a visa is a common way to become an immigrant.

    @samantha: I disagree, but your post was trippy.

    The whole concept of the costume was confusing.

    @don: You’re more confusing than Samantha. Few of the people writing to this blog are immigrants, much less “illegal aliens”.

    You should try a Spanish-language blog for your racist drive-by posts.

    @RobThomas – great post!

  27. OK I get the fact that most of you think hispanic (mexican) and illegal alien are one in the same, for that I say that you are one racist and two profiling, which I think you would probably also argue against.

    The costume depicted a fictional character aka know as an alien. A green card is required for all working immigrants regardless of race, and the orange jumpsuit is synonymous with a criminal, again I have to say that if you are saying that an orange jumpsuit is a symbol of hispanic (mexican) then I refer you to the above.

    As my padre used to tell me if you can’t laugh at yourself then don’t laugh at someone else. So unless you don’t ever laugh take your racist profiling ways and get a life.

  28. How is this not racist? It’s pretty much stereotype. Everyone knows people discriminate against Hispanics, but then again everyone discriminates against any race. This “costume” is just being plain racist. Who are the people been called aliens? Hispanics. Who are the people always made fun of because of a green card? Hispanics. Also how many Hispanics go to jail due to crimes? A lot. Would this be any different if the costume was a black man carrying a buck of fried chicken?(maybe a black male who loves chicken?).. Few people realize that the only race is the Human race. The white population is going down and immigrants is rapidly going up. Well if this matter, which im sure it does to many people, my Skin color is white and my parents are from European country’s.

  29. Yeah this is racist.. but then again who cares.. The world is different.. Only few care about race and its most of the times older people.. As for this United States is a land in earth with many type of different people. Of course few people are still racist but there just dumb and no nothing about history.. United States wouldnt be United States if it wasnt for immigrants. Plain and simple…. Sorry for my writting.. Who cares about color. where all going to be the same color once we die..

  30. This costume is hilarious. If some of the self-righteous people here truly have a problem with it, they better be fluent in Nahuatl and not have any trace of Roman Catholicism in their blood.

    If you are in this country illegally, well tough shit. Go back in line and do it the right way. Until then, we can make fun of you as much as we want. I would expect the same if I sneaked into your home country.

  31. Censorship on

    I take a vacation from the site for a couple of days and miss out on Alan and Don. Why. So. Serious Webmasters?? Let the “vitriol” fuel the flames.

    To Berysimple and the rest of the Bery noble, Bery law-abiding Americans on the blog: if you don’t like foreigners coming into Your country, KEEP YOUR FOREIGN MILITARY AND CORPORATIONS OUT OF THEIRS. The name of the game is capitalism fools, its global and so are its workers.

  32. Not offended. Maybe my internal outrage meter is broken, but this doesn’t raise my ire, and my parents were ilegales from Mexico.

    I wonder whether some people aren’t more offended because Target, a major corporation, is selling it. Maybe it seems more crass because of that. But if some dude in Boyle Heights wore that on Halloween my guess is most people would lightly chuckle. Even those here without papeles.

  33. There’s nothing wrong with being more upset because it’s Target selling it.

    An individual person is just one person. Target is a big company, and it can reflect and spread ideas in ways that a single person cannot.

  34. lately every single post turns out to be a fucking cat fight, what ever happen to the good old days. After a while this starts to bother me but i cant stop reading.
    Take a chill pill ppl.

  35. so the afro costumes, the “redneck” costumes, and the costumes like the “trailer trash ones are all ok?? If your going to get insulted over this then why not get insulted over it all and as people prostest againt the degrading costumes against people in genereal. You have degrading women costumes and costumes like ” pimps & hos” “gold digger”. But i guess because we feel like less of a people because of the stupid headline news we cannot even take a joke!

  36. As I type this comment and think about the illegal alien costume over and over again since hearing about it last week, I can’t help but laugh inside and smirk on the outside. I’m sure I’m not the only person who thinks the costume is funny.
    Analyzing and overanalyzing anything will eventually offend someone. It’s like doing research for a dissertation on comedians Chris Rock or George Lopez. It kills the punch line.
    The price is way too high. I’d borrow a jumpsuit from a juvenial delinquent cleaning the highway.

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