Sean Penn's outrageous 'joke'

Story highlights

  • Raul A. Reyes: Sean Penn veered off-script at the Oscars in an offensive way
  • Immigration status is no joke, Reyes says

Raul A. Reyes is an attorney and member of the USA Today Board of Contributors. Follow him on Twitter @RaulAReyes. The views expressed are his own.

(CNN)It was the jab heard around the world. At Sunday night's Academy Awards ceremony, Sean Penn veered off-script in an utterly offensive way. Presenting "Birdman" director Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu with his prize for best picture, Penn quipped, "Who gave this son of a bitch his green card?"

It is beyond comprehension why Penn chose to make such a reference on a night where, literally, the whole world was watching.
Raul A. Reyes
A green card, of course, confers lawful permanent residence on a foreign national in the United States. But immigration status is no joke, and his off-the-cuff remark only legitimizes the idea that it is OK to mock Latinos for their real or imagined immigration status.