Associated Press declares: We will no longer use the term “illegal immigrant”; Update: NYT rethinking too?

posted at 4:01 pm on April 2, 2013 by Allahpundit

Yes, really. Remember, even a notorious immigration squish like McCain refuses to bow to Orwellian demands to stop using the term “illegal immigrant.” With good reason: Isn’t “illegal immigrant” itself a politically correct alternative to the statutory term “alien”? “Illegal alien” was too harsh and Other-y, so “illegal immigrant” came into vogue. They’re just like other immigrants! Except without following all the immigration rules.

If they want something more precise, how about “UNAUTHORIZED ALIENS” — just like that, with italics and all-caps? E.g., “Today, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) announced a compromise between Senate Democrats and Republicans that would grant legal status to 11 million UNAUTHORIZED ALIENS.”

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

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.)…

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…

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.

Ah, “evolution.” Dave Weigel’s right to see that word as a tell, whether in the gay-marriage context or here. Once you see yourself as “evolving,” you’re all but guaranteeing further change towards a political position you’re resisting right now. Can’t wait to find out which Newspeak neologism will follow this if “undocumented” has already been ruled out. “Strangers from beyond” has a nice mystique to it. Although, if push comes to shove, “future Democratic voters” probably wins on accuracy.

The timing here suggests that this is the AP’s dumb little way of cheerleading for immigration reform in Congress — amnesty shills have been pushing the “no human being is ‘illegal'” slogan for years — but in that case why not excise the term “illegal” altogether? They’re not dropping it, they’re just nudging their reporters to apply it to a person’s behavior rather than to the person himself. The real loser is AP copy writers who now need to replace “illegal immigrant” with “friend you haven’t met yet” or whatever. Sonny Bunch offers a few examples of the same stupid, word-wasting rule in practice:

Thus were a thousand mocking tweets born. Exit question: When does the AP decide that reporters can no longer refer to gays getting married as “gay marriage” rather than just “marriage”? Over/under is, let’s say, July.

Update: You know the political correctness here is far gone when even the Democratic head of DHS insists that “illegal immigrant” is perfectly fine.

Update: Now that the bar of “correctness” has been raised, can the Times clear it? Maybe!

The Times, for the past couple of months, has also been considering changes to its stylebook entry on this term and will probably announce them to staff members this week. (A stylebook is the definitive guide to usage, relied upon by writers and editors, for the purpose of consistency.)

From what I can gather, The Times’s changes will not be nearly as sweeping as The A.P.’s…

It’s good to see these moves taking place. Language evolves and it’s time for these changes. Early in my tenure as public editor, I considered this question and came down in favor of the continued use of “illegal immigrant,” because it was a clear and easily understandable term. My position on this has changed over the past several months. So many people find it offensive to refer to a person with an adjective like “illegal” that I now favor the use of “undocumented” or “unauthorized” as alternatives.

There’s journalism for you. She favored a term that’s acceptable to politicians on both sides because it’s “clear and understandable,” but then amnesty shills started to bully her so she opted for the far less precise Orwellian term “undocumented immigrant.” Give her a Pulitzer.

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U.S. / Obama Administration armed Mexican Drug Cartels.
— Obama’s Atty General perpetrates 3 FELONY counts of Perjury during the Congressional Investigation that followed.

Obama ordered Atty General NOT to detain, arrest, charge, sentence, or jail any illegal who commits a crime less than a felony, a ‘right’ even American citizens do not have.
— Later, as a made-up result of a Faux disaster caused by the Obama administration (Sequestration), Obama/Janet Nepolitano release THOUSANDS of INCARCERATED (JAILED) ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT CRIMINALS.

The Obama administration sends a team to Mexico to educate Mexicans on how to, even though ILLEGAL when they get there, apply/obtain every social program benefit (meant for & paid for by American Citizens) we can pay for!
— The ‘Obamaphone’ THEFT crime – quietly adding a small tax to your home phone bill to pay for handing out free phones – is ‘nothing’ compared to the MASSIVE ORGANIZED CRIME of organizing, overseeing, training others how to take our money, & stealing, & distribution of our American Tax Dollars going on right now.

According to THIS, you tell me who does this President work for? Whose nation/people is he representing thriugh these actions?

If he want to ‘help the world’ he should get the [email protected] out of office & seek election as leader of the U.N. If he wants to aid illegal Mexicans/Mexicans & put their interests over his own nation’s, thyen perhaps he needs to quit & run for office in Mexico. If not, he needs to ACT like the friggin’ President of THE UNITED STATES!

easyt65 on April 3, 2013 at 12:56 PM

For the 1st time in my life I have something in common with Michelle Obama. Thanks TO the Obamas, I am ashamed of my country! (Or at least this administration / nation UNDER OBAMA!)

easyt65 on April 3, 2013 at 12:57 PM

No other country in the world (unless it’s Britain) tolerates this kind of abuse.

Part of the tolerance is the Leftist concept that the predominately white nations have historically trampled on and dominated the poor brown and black people of the world, and thus power and presence must be diluted to make amends for past sins, and presently, this also includes the “need” to redistribute the wealth and property of these nations to those races who have been abused.

Also works to divide the populace into racial and cultural segments, self-absorbed and fighting among themselves to be conquered and controlled by the Left financial and political elite.

hawkeye54 on April 3, 2013 at 12:58 PM

Hit piece and reality check.

They are NOT “immigrants”, fools.

Schadenfreude on April 3, 2013 at 1:06 PM

Hit piece and reality check.

They are NOT “immigrants”, fools.

“Invasive Leeches”…..and our government practically invites the invasion and prevents us from using any effective repellents or antidotes.

hawkeye54 on April 3, 2013 at 1:13 PM

So many people find it offensive

So that’s how it’s done! We just need to start declaring ourselves offended by all the newspeak terms, and they will magically disappear!

Or do we have to start rioting before the rule takes effect? Seems to work for Muslims differently-faithed Mohammed prophet followers

There Goes The Neighborhood on April 3, 2013 at 2:25 PM

“Liars and Cheats”?

“Fraudulent Documentarians”?

“People Breaking the Law”?

We all know all of those are true and accurate. It’s a case of them having “hurt feelings” and not wanting to hear their wrongs identified correctly.

Lourdes on April 3, 2013 at 2:30 PM

Michelle Malkin has a good post written about this…in which she identifies a few of the key people by name with links who are accredited with this mess by AP.

Lourdes on April 3, 2013 at 2:31 PM

One thing I DO know is that AP should NOT be called “journalism” any longer, nor their authors “journalists.”

Call them what they are: Democrat Party operatives.

Lourdes on April 3, 2013 at 2:34 PM

I see Janet baby is violating the AP guide – she is still calling them “illegal aliens”.

Permanent Resident Alien

An alien admitted to the United States as a lawful permanent resident. Permanent residents are also commonly referred to as immigrants; however, the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) broadly defines an immigrant as any alien in the United States, except one legally admitted under specific nonimmigrant categories (INA section 101(a)(15)). An illegal alien who entered the United States without inspection, for example, would be strictly defined as an immigrant under the INA but is not a permanent resident alien. Lawful permanent residents are legally accorded the privilege of residing permanently in the United States. They may be issued immigrant visas by the Department of State overseas or adjusted to permanent resident status by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in the United States.


(my italics and bold)

How about we all agree on “Non-Permanent Resident Alien”? If resident aliens don’t complain about being called aliens, why should ILLEGAL FOREIGN INVADERS object??

fred5678 on April 3, 2013 at 2:37 PM

“Illegal immigrant” has never been a sensible term because “immigrant is a label applied to a person” but “illegal” is a term to be applied to actions.

The correct term is, I suggest, “criminal immigrant”. Those immigrant are criminals because they have performed an “illegal migration”.

YiZhangZhe on April 3, 2013 at 4:36 PM

American Pravda policing the language of public discourse.

Kenosha Kid on April 4, 2013 at 12:00 AM

My favorite is still Leno/Limbaugh’s–Undocumented Democrat.

iconoclast on April 4, 2013 at 3:26 AM

Please note, however, that

Tea Partiers, conservatives, and Republicans generally will, of course, continue to be referred to as “right-wing extremists” in each and every single case, no matter how absurd

Paul_in_NJ on April 4, 2013 at 8:54 AM

Associated Press declares: We will no longer use the term “illegal immigrant”

In response,

We will no longer use the term “Newspaper” to refer to a user of Associated Press propaganda.

landlines on April 4, 2013 at 10:57 AM

From this Hot Air post:

“Illegal alien” was too harsh and Other-y, so “illegal immigrant” came into vogue.

Ummmm . . . not really, ALLAHPUNDIT. The term “illegal” as a short-hand word used to mean an “illegal immigrant” actually came into common use way back in 1939, at least according to my Meriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.

The second definition of “illegal” therein is:

²illegal n (1939): an illegal immigrant

Kathleen Carroll of the AP has provided an explanation for this latest change. Quoted on their blog, she said:

“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.
. . . .

In other words, she is proposing via a style manual to entirely eliminate a commonly accepted word from the English language. The word “illegal” is no longer to be considered a noun, according to her. And it’s usage as an adjective should only be used to describe an action, and not a person. She has to admit in her explanation that it is really not about style at all, but rather about their judgment that use of the term is labeling a person, which the and that that was what really caused the Associated Press to evolve to this latest pronouncement. (There is a lot of that going around!)

Interestingly — according to Carroll — a quite recent earlier AP reaffirmation of the use of the phrase “illegal immigrant” (barely 6 months ago in October of 2012), was made because there was no phrase or word in common usage that was sufficiently accurate to replace the term “illegal immigrant”e.g.,, they opined at the time that “undocumented immigrant” was too imprecise!

And in that earlier pronouncement, again barely six months ago, the AP said the following (my emphasis added.)

. . .
Finally, there’s the concern that “illegal immigrant” offends a person’s dignity by suggesting his very existence is illegal. We don’t read the term this way. We refer routinely to illegal loggers, illegal miners, illegal vendors and so forth. Our language simply means that a person is logging, mining, selling, etc., in violation of the law — just as illegal immigrants have immigrated in violation of the law. (Precisely to respect the dignity of people in this situation, the Stylebook warns against such terms as “illegal alien,” “an illegal” or “illegals.”)
. . . .

Wait . . . isn’t that labeling — eg., using “Illegal vendor?”

I think the only plausible explanation of all of this is that the AP intentionally made this change after the election, and just prior to the immigration “reform” legislation debate heating up, in order to materially influence the political outcome.

Trochilus on April 4, 2013 at 1:53 PM

Oops! Correction to my prior post:

“She has to admit in her explanation that it is really not about style at all, but rather about their judgment that use of the term is labeling a person, which the and that that was what really caused the Associated Press to evolve to this latest pronouncement. (There is a lot of that going around!)”

Trochilus on April 4, 2013 at 2:03 PM

they also use the word excrement in place of steaming pile of $#@&..


jomondo44 on April 4, 2013 at 2:34 PM

Does the Mexican press refuse to use terms like “illegal aliens” when referring to their illegal immigrants?

Reminder: How Mexico Treats “Undesirable” Foreigners

Why are we always played for suckers? Because we so clearly are.

Chessplayer on April 5, 2013 at 11:44 AM