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AP will no longer use the term "Illegal Immigrant" or "Illegal" when describing a person that out of legal status in the United States.

AP Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll explains the thinking behind the decision saying"

[AP] 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.
It's offensive to say that a person is Illegal or an Illegal Immigrant and now the press is finally starting to realize it.
When you label someone an "illegal alien" or "illegal immigrant" or just plain "illegal," you are effectively saying the individual, as opposed to the actions the person has taken, is unlawful. The terms imply the very existence of an unauthorized migrant in America is criminal.
Hopefully, we here at Dkos will take this to heart when writing and tagging diaries and when we discus immigrants and workers residing here in the USA.

Finally, were seeing real change in our societies tolerance and acceptance of anti immigrant, anti Latino language. When the press stops dehumanizing immigrants and Latinos all of our perceptions will change. When perceptions change, intolerance and racism can not thrive.

We have to, even here at Dkos, be aware that dehumanizing terminology is for Republicans. When we stand up and say the dehumanizing language is a slur and racist, then things can change.

Even John Boehner thinks Don Young's Wetback comment is "offensive and beneath the dignity of the office."

When Boehner states this and no Republicans lash back at him you know that times are changing for the better in America.

Illegal immigrants are a thing of the past.


Which is most dehumanizing?

12%3 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes
50%12 votes
37%9 votes

| 24 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  The term we use is undocumented, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    here4tehbeer, wader

    and don't trust Boehner's public statement as true sentiment.

    No matter how cynical you get, it is impossible to keep up.--Lily Tomlin

    by Desert Rose on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 06:09:54 PM PDT

    •  AP had this to say about the term "undocumented". (0+ / 0-)
      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.
      Although it's not necessarily offensive, and I've used the term myself, AP rightly rejects it.
  •  Just saying "illegals" would be offensive (9+ / 0-)

    since it characterizes the person as being fundamentally outside the law, but "illegal immigrant" is perfectly legitimate as a descriptive status.  Those who find it problematic because it contains an implicit moral judgment will just have to accept that, because it remains factually accurate.  It may be less judgmental to say "undocumented," but it's also less relevant given that the reason they're undocumented is that they're illegal immigrants.

    I support a number of pro-immigrant measures, but I'm not going to change my language so that people who put their personal interests ahead of the laws of this country can feel better about themselves.

    Going faster miles an hour, with the radio on.

    by Troubadour on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 06:11:54 PM PDT

    •  Completely agree (8+ / 0-)

      "Illegal immigrant" is an accurate phrase.  Their presence in this country is against the law.  "Immigrants who came here illegally and remain here illegally" is perhaps more complete, but "illegal" is a perfectly accurate phrase to describe the states of people who came to this country in violation of the laws of this country and who remain in this country in violation of the laws of this country.  

      I support immigration reform.  I do not, however, believe in changing language so as to cover up the harsh reality that what the people have done is illegal.  They may have had good motives for breaking the law, but when you break the law, you have done something illegal.  And when it's your immigration itself that is illegal, the term "illegal immigrant" is accurate.

      I also completely agree that terms like "wetback" are offensive in all contexts and should never be used.  

    •  except that there are NO laws (0+ / 0-)

      against being in this country without documents. The only laws forbid the employing of those without documents permitting working in this country by non citizens without permission  — such as with green cards.

      So f off.

      I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

      by samddobermann on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 04:54:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ap can do what it wants, but 'illegal immigrant' (7+ / 0-)

    defines the status.  An "Illegal", however, is obnoxious.

    I have no problem with "illegal immigrant".

    What about "criminal"?  That's dehumanizing too.  "Felon"?  Even more so.

    But I'm not going to develop an antiseptic language just so that everyone can have their feelings protected.

  •  this has been all over my Facebook the last couple (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    of hours....I thought it was a fake story.  Thank you for the diary.

  •  You could be misinterpreted! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RonV, godlessmath

    Crossing the border without documents isn't a felony, it's a misdemeanor.

    If you get stopped for reckless driving, it's the same level of infraction. How many years does that make you "illegal?"

    I am all for fining those who cross the border the same level as a reckless driving ticket, then asking them to register, pay taxes and stay out of trouble for a few years...

    But the employers who use them? They need to be jailed.

    •  Why jail the employers but not the employee? (3+ / 0-)

      If its a crime for one to do it, its a crime for the other to do it.
      Just like prostitution---if you jail the prostitute, you have to jail the john (also misdemeanors)

      Happy just to be alive

      by exlrrp on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 07:06:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  wrong (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Unauthorized crossing of the border is not a crime - at least not unless you' ve been deported previously. It is a mere civil violation. Reckless driving is a crime. Parking in a crosswalk is a civil violation for which you may be fined. same same with entering the country without proper documemts.

      “I’m able to fly, do what I want, essentially. I guess that’s what freedom is — no limits.” Marybeth Onyeukwu -- Brooklyn DREAMer.

      by chuco35 on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 10:07:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'll check...but you get my point (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I was under the impression it was now misdemeanor, but I'll check and stand corrected. My point remains. It should be punished at a level appropriate to the law, then forgotten...just as I can't remember my last parking ticket, and it certainly didn't make me "illegal" for the rest of my life. Even "undocumented" is pretty silly, since these folks obviously have documents, just not the right ones. Tens of thousands of American citizens apparently didn't have the right documents to vote in the last election, did they?

      •  No. there is no civil law on this.n/t (0+ / 0-)

        I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

        by samddobermann on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 04:59:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Illegal drivers (0+ / 0-)

      Like my traffic school instructor said to us, one time I got a speeding ticket, did you drive here today? Then you broke the law.

      As noted below, crossing the border without documents is a civil infraction, like speeding and such. We don't call each other "illegal drivers," however. Perhaps because that would dehumanize the wrong people.

      Ironically, there is a difference between being an "illegal immigrant" and being an "illegal driver" who drives over the speed limit. Those who habitually drive over the speed limit have a much higher chance of hurting others and costing taxpayers money.

    •  it isn't even a misdemeanor. (0+ / 0-)

      sorry. Find a statute that supports your belief. You can't.

      There is law that applies to anyone employing those without documents allowing hem to work in country.

      I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

      by samddobermann on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 04:57:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Merriam-Webster in the definition of the word.... (0+ / 0-)

    illegal: noun

    Definition of ILLEGAL

     : an illegal immigrant

    So I guess we are going to rewrite the dictionary now?

    Words have meanings, even if they make you feel bad, they are the meaning or accurate description.

    Otherwise, the dictionary is going to be about 5 pages thick at most and we won't have any language available to describe all manner of things in our communications, by the time everyone with a problem with the definitions of words gets to delete what they don't like.

    Illegal: : not according to or authorized by law

    Immigrant: a person who comes to a country to take up permanent residence

    Of course, the portion who came here for work, and not to become Americans, I guess wouldn't meet the letter of the definition.

    How about the word Alien?

    Alien: relating, belonging, or owing allegiance to another country or government

    So would the immigrants here for work and not here to become Americans be properly addressed as, illegal aliens?

    I'm just asking, do words matter, does the dictionary definition have meaning or do we just make new shit up because someone decided that it was mean to use the correct description? Just asking.

    Starting a pool: So how many hit rates can I get in the first hour?

    I'll take .... 7

    •  The dictionary is wrong (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Jester
      Illegal: : not according to or authorized by law
      Churches are not authorized by law. Are they illegal? I like that idea.

      as you noticed not all undocumented are intending to live here permanently.

      I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

      by samddobermann on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 05:11:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Miriam Webster also calls a wetback a Mexican that (0+ / 0-)

      entered the country illegally. They mention that it's usually offensive to use the word. Calling someone "an illegal" is usually just as offensive as calling someone a wetback.
      Until they do, it puts a bit of a black mark on their dictionary.

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