International news agency Associated Press (AP) has banned its journalists from using the term “illegal immigrant”.
The new AP 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.
Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll said the change is a part of AP Style because the English language is constantly evolving, enriched by new words, phrases and uses.
The updated entry is being added immediately to the AP Stylebook Online and Manual de Estilo Online de la AP, the new Spanish-language Stylebook. It also will appear in the new print edition and Stylebook Mobile, coming out later in the spring.
The new AP Stylebook reads as follows:
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.