Associated Press Drops "Illegal Immigrant" From AP Style Guide, and It's About Time


The Associated Press announced Tuesday that it will no longer use the word "illegal immigrant." The change marks an incredible departure from the way traditional media outlets have referred to individuals who have immigrated illegally. The phrase is reviled by many who believe it is discriminatory and offensive. Here's the Senior VP and Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll on the change

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 change has already been entered into the AP Stylebook Online

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, illegalsor 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?

This change is clearly part of the ongoing evolution we are now experiencing towards immigration reform and it is most welcome, even if it is long overdue. 

Some Twitter reactions: 

What do you all think, is this change a good thing or just more political correctness?