AP Drops Term “Illegal Immigrant”


Facing growing pressure from immigrant rights and advocacy groups, the Associated Press on Tuesday finally decided to drop the term “illegal immigrant” from its widely used and respected style guide.

Here is the updated entry from the guide:

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.

AP Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll explains that the change is part of their goal to always “use the most precise and accurate words so that the meaning is clear to any reader anywhere.”

This is a key step forward in the fight for immigrants’ rights. There are also reports that the New York Times is also reconsidering the use of the term.

To have two of the world’s most respected news organizations dropping the derogatory term is just one step of many that we need to take as a nation.

Long Island Wins and our allies will continue to promote commonsense immigration policy, and strive to make Long Island a more welcoming and accepting place for everyone.