To assist the amnesty push planned for 2001 by President George W. Bush and Mexico’s President Vicente Fox, the National Council of La Raza conducted focus groups on the best terminology to use. They found that the word “amnesty” should be avoided.
The Dallas Morning News wrote about the results of those focus groups:
“Amnesty: It’s the politically charged word that won’t cross the lips of U.S. and Mexican government officials who are debating an initiative that could place many of the 3 million to 4 million Mexicans living illegally in the United States on a path to legal residency.”
“Instead, they talk of “regularization” and “legalization” — or, in Spanish, regularizar and legalización.”
This campaign was successful in “controversializing” the previously unremarkable word “amnesty” and getting pro-amnesty politicians and media to chastise those who used it.