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    AP bans "illegal immigrant" "sovereignty" next?

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    Media Response

    jeremy beck
    AP bans "illegal immigrant" "sovereignty" next?

    You may have heard the outrageous news that the Associated Press has dropped "illegal immigrant" from its vocabulary -- unless it appears in quotes. They have also dropped "illegal alien," "illegals," and "undocumented."

    AP Style Book:

    Tom Kent, Head of AP's Style Book:

    If you wish to multiply your message, google "illegal immigrant ap" and click on any of the media links to leave comments.
    If the media wants to use the legal terminology, they can use "unlawful alien."

    This is what one NumbersUSA member wrote to the AP:

    "You have made a very foolish and shortsighted decision in banning the use of "illegal immigrant." In effect you have declared that American citizenship is an obsolete concept.

    "This is a step back, not a step forward, for social justice as well as for honesty in journalism.

    "The reasoning you offer to distinguish between entering the U.S. illegally and being an illegal immigrant is strained, and has no basis in logic, fact, or the law of the United States.

    "If there is no such thing as an illegal immigrant, there is no such thing as a lawful citizen.

    "That is the plain fact which you are trying to obscure.

    "In the spirit of Theodore Hesburgh and Barbara Jordan on immigration policy, I urge you to reverse your unfortunate and misguided decision."

    Pro-amnesty lobbies have been pressuring the media to drop "illegal immigrant" for years but have stepped up their efforts in recent months. Their next target is the New York Times. The Times' Public Editor reports that the paper is also considering dropping "illegal immigrant."
    You can contact the Times' Public Editor, Margaret Sullivan, at:
    As this video from the Media Research Center shows, language matters in the immigration debate. Voters who don't know the difference between "undocumented workers" and "illegal immigrants" are more likely to say they support some form of amnesty.


    This video is funny remember these are voters!!!

    video at link below

    llegal or Undocumented?

    How much difference does it make which words you use when asking people about a controversial political topic?
    MRCTV's Dan Joseph went to Capitol Hill to find out who people think should get citizenship first: "undocumented workers" or "illegal immigrants."


    Wednesday, April 3, 2013 - 9:59am


    A look inside the world’s most trusted news organization


    ‘Illegal immigrant’ no mor
    Posted on 04/02/2013 by Paul Colford

    The AP Stylebook today is making some changes in how we describe people living in a country illegally.
    Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll explains the thinking behind the decision:

    The Stylebook no longer sanctions the term “illegal immigrant” or the use of “illegal” to describe a person. Instead, it tells users that “illegal” should describe only an action, such as living in or immigrating to a country illegally.
    Why did we make the change?
    The discussions on this topic have been wide-ranging and include many people from many walks of life. (Earlier, they led us to reject descriptions such as “undocumented,” despite ardent support from some quarters, because it is not precise. A person may have plenty of documents, just not the ones required for legal residence.)
    Those discussions continued even after AP affirmed “illegal immigrant” as the best use, for two reasons.
    A number of people felt that “illegal immigrant” was the best choice at the time. They also believed the always-evolving English language might soon yield a different choice and we should stay in the conversation.
    Also, we had in other areas been ridding the Stylebook of labels. The new section on mental health issues argues for using credibly sourced diagnoses instead of labels. Saying someone was “diagnosed with schizophrenia” instead of schizophrenic, for example.
    And that discussion about labeling people, instead of behavior, led us back to “illegal immigrant” again.
    We concluded that to be consistent, we needed to change our guidance.
    So we have.
    Is this the best way to describe someone in a country without permission? We believe that it is for now. We also believe more evolution is likely down the road.
    Will the new guidance make it harder for writers? Perhaps just a bit at first. But while labels may be more facile, they are not accurate.
    I suspect now we will hear from some language lovers who will find other labels in the AP Stylebook. We welcome that engagement. Get in touch at or, if you are an AP Stylebook Online subscriber, through the “Ask the Editor” page.
    Change is a part of AP Style because the English language is constantly evolving, enriched by new words, phrases and uses. Our goal always is to use the most precise and accurate words so that the meaning is clear to any reader anywhere.
    The updated entry is being added immediately to the AP Stylebook Online and Manual de Estilo Online de la AP, the new Spanish-language Stylebook. It also will appear in the new print edition and Stylebook Mobile, coming out later in the spring. It reads as follows:

    illegal immigration Entering or residing in a country in violation of civil or criminal law. Except in direct quotes essential to the story, use illegal only to refer to an action, not a person: illegal immigration, but not illegal immigrant. Acceptable variations include living in or entering a country illegally or without legal permission.
    Except in direct quotations, do not use the terms illegal alien, an illegal, illegals or undocumented.
    Do not describe people as violating immigration laws without attribution.
    Specify wherever possible how someone entered the country illegally and from where. Crossed the border? Overstayed a visa? What nationality?
    People who were brought into the country as children should not be described as having immigrated illegally. For people granted a temporary right to remain in the U.S. under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, use temporary resident status, with details on the program lower in the story.
    About Paul Colford

    Paul Colford is the director of media relations with The Associated Press.

    Last edited by kathyet; 04-04-2013 at 02:50 PM.

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