AP Bans ‘Illegal Immigrant’: The Tricky Language of Immigration Reform

New Associated Press Stylebook guidance marks the latest chapter in a long battle over the "I-word."

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Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

A t-shirt worn at a demonstration by immigrant students for an end to deportations and for relief for those in deportation proceedings, June 15, 2012, in Los Angeles, Calif.

There’s a snappy saying used to promote cultural sensitivity toward Asian-Americans and their heritage: rugs are Oriental, people are Asian. The corollary in today’s national conversation about immigration reform might go something like this: “Actions are illegal, people are undocumented.” That is, unless you’re a reporter for the Associated Press, for whom the terms illegal immigrant and undocumented immigrant are now both verboten.

(COVER STORY: Not Legal, and Not Leaving)

On Tuesday, when the news service announced that its thousands of reporters would no longer be using those terms, it was a victory for activists who have argued that no person should be described as “illegal.” But the lack of suggested alternatives highlights a potential headache for journalists, politicians and others who regularly talk and write about people who are in the United States without proper documentation: which words do they use now?

The Associated Press says their update is more about avoiding labels as a general practice than showing sensitivity to the immigrant community (though the editors did have meetings with such advocates in recent months). “We try to be fair to people’s feelings,” standards editor Tom Kent tells TIME, “but we’re not responding to one political current or another.” He says the change to the AP Stylebook, an established guide to proper usage and grammar, is no different than changes that have nixed other reductive terms, like wheelchair-bound or schizophrenic. “We’re trying to put the emphasis not on describing people but on describing actions or situations that they are in,” Kent says. (TIME discourages the use of the term “illegal immigrant” by our writers.)

(PHOTOS: America’s Undocumented Immigrants)

The easy fix, one pushed by many immigration reform activists, is to use “undocumented immigrants.” But AP Stylebook editors, being highly concerned about the precision and accuracy of their language, rejected that adjective too. That term — the one preferred by anti-I-word campaigners like Jose Antonio Vargas, who wrote TIME’s June 2012 cover story on immigration reform — is still too imprecise, Kent says: after all, an “undocumented” immigrant could have all sorts of documents, like a driver’s license or a birth certificate from their home country.

In a recent hearing about immigration on Capitol Hill, Democratic Rep. John Conyers expressed the preference that no one present use the term “illegal immigrants” and instead called such people “out of status.” Yet Kent finds that phrasing even less clear. “Everybody has some status,” he says. “I mean, I’m seated at the moment. I don’t think most readers would grasp what we meant by that.”

(VIEWPOINT: The Problem with the Word ‘Illegal’) 

When telling individual stories, writers and politicians can get more specific about the immigrant in question, eschewing the word illegal by explaining more precisely what the subject’s circumstances are. When referring to a broader group, the language gets more cumbersome. Kent’s most elaborate suggestion was “foreigners in the United States in violation of the law.” And tortured language will only fan the flames of critics who view such avoidances as liberal hand-wringing. “They’re illegals. They’re illegals. They’re illegals. They’re illegals. They’re here illegally,” Glenn Beck said on his radio show in response to Conyers’ “out of status” remarks.

For its part, the AP Stylebook has for years required reporters to avoid the terms “illegals” or “aliens” because those words are viewed as derogatory. And there are certain words that have cropped up in recent political discussions that pretty much everyone can agree not to use — just ask Alaska Rep. Don Young. Even with the AP changing its ways, and more news organizations considering similar reforms, ridding society at large of a convenient shorthand is not going to be easy. But Kent says ease is not the driving factor when it comes to the AP Stylebook. The new ban “fits in with our own ethic on labeling,” he says. “We want to some degree reflect the evolution of society.”

Wednesday Words is a weekly column that delves into the way we wag our tongues and wield our pens.

MORE: Why Undocumented Workers Are Good for Business

203 comments
ThomasO'Connor
ThomasO'Connor

Don't come here illegally - its pretty straightforward - I understand for some it wasn't their choice, but ignorance of a crime does not absolve one of the consequences of breaking it. We have allowances in our immigration laws for refugee's. We have allowances for the number of people who can immigrate yearly from all different parts of the world (and there are reasons those numbers exist) - We have programs for visa's for workers and students= sponsorship programs etc. - Washington ashamedly see's these numbers as potential voters, so finding loopholes or granting amnesty - gets them more votes for whoever's party... we honestly don't care anymore because they all seem corrupt these days... --- sickening)  
     
       If you walk into a bank vault and security fails to stop you before you make it into the door - does this mean you now get some of the money in there? - or lets say your parent, while visiting a neighbor decides "Oh! this is much nicer than my home!". now you  "magically" you get to live there? Now they have to consider you part of their family. feed you, pay your medical bills etc?  Even if the homeowner has an extra room and is gracious enough and can take one person at a time and help them until they can move on and make it on their own. Just because you can fit 6 people in that room or they sneak in when the homeowner is looking - doesn't mean the other 5 get to stay - we said one. (hopefully the simile isn't too hard for most to catch the meaning of here)

    We don't hate immigrants. Most of us are, or are the children or grandchildren of immigrants. There was and often still is a proud history of what it took for us or for them to get here and make a new home for themselves here. To be and become an American and to learn the language. We didn't require you forget your previous one - but neither did we change our existing signage or documentation to accommodate. We offered help initially, but eventually the onus was on them to become fluent.  and obey the laws of their new country. (Not just those convenient for you / them) It was an honor - they were proud to exclaim they are Americans and mean it, not just when they take they oath of citizenship.- Honor your new home and make it stronger.
      Ask many immigrant families - from the 1850-1950 era or so. And ask them what their views on  Public Assistance are? - beyond making sure they hopefully had enough to fee their children many would not take a dime. They felt too much pride, because they were brought up to take care of and provide for themselves and their families. 
   
       Additionally, - If within a certain amount of time, an immigrant speaks with disrespect, insults or attacks this nation or at any time breaks 'severe laws' of this, their new home / country - Then they should be encouraged most emphatically (or if need be forcibly...) to return from whence they came.  

uhlthomas27
uhlthomas27

there are a whole lot of illegals from russia, ukraine, asia.... yet everyone dwells on mexicans... ironic enough mexicans as immigrants have been declining in number and actualy more are leaving than coming


the new wave of illegals is coming from asia and russia

CaliforniaEagle
CaliforniaEagle

Justice, you aren't presenting an accurate picture. Illegal entry is not a felony, it's a misdemeanor (8USC1325). Overstaying a visa or working without permission is not a criminal offense, it's a civil offense (violation of status). Re-entry after deportation (8USC1326) is a felony, as are some other sections of law such as visa fraud, false statements, false claim to U.S. citizenship, passport fraud, etc. It's a far stretch and NOT accurate to say that all illegal aliens are felons. Some do use phony documents and end up using the Social Security number of another (because the counterfeiter picked it out of the air) and it was issued to someone else, and yes, this causes problems. However, the number of illegal aliens who actually assume the identity of an American citizen is quite low. When those crimes are discovered, it's up to the office of the U.S. Attorney whether or not to prosecute. Generally speaking, unless there are aggravating circumstances, prosecution will be declined because there are other more egregious cases to prosecute. 

JUSTICEFORALL
JUSTICEFORALL

ANYONE WHO HAS STUDIES IMMIGRATION LAW KNOWS THE CORRECT TERM FOR PEOPLE WHO COME LEGALLY IS AN "IMMIGRANT" (USC TITLE 8, CHAPT. 12, SUBCH. 1 SECTION 1101 & SUBCH. II SECTION 1325);  SOMEONE WHO COMES IN VIOLATION OF THE LAW IS CALLED AN "ILLEGAL ALIEN". IT'S VERY SIMPLE. MEXICO HAS AN AGENDA TO TAKE OVER FIRST THE SW OF THIS NATION (they only owned for 24 yrs.!) AND THEN THE ENTIRE NATION IF THEY CAN DO IT. THEIR MOVEMENT IS CALLED "AZTLAN" AND THEIR RADICALS SPEND HOURS THINKING UP WAYS TO "MANIPULATE AMERICANS' WORDS TO MANIPULATE OUR MINDS". The word "immigrant" is a respected word so they yelp every time someone uses the correct term "illegal alien" and say he's not from outer space or some such ludicrous remark so people use the respected word which is the wrong one. Not one illegal alien has any respect for law; nor do they care if Americans' lose their jobs as long as they can steal what we have: our jobs, our benefits, our social services, etc.

BajaRat
BajaRat

AP is right in not calling the invaders "illegal immigrants." They are actually "ILLEGAL ALIENS." goo.gl/4vthV
They are also criminals and parasites in need of immediate deportation.

UleNotknow
UleNotknow

" ...rugs are Oriental, people are Asian." Really. "Oriental" is a race. "Asia" is a continent of some 50 countries. Its residents are Asian, but, depending on their "race", they may or may not be Oriental.

BrakeFastClub
BrakeFastClub

This entire country is illegal and filled with criminals.  Don't try and be high and mighty.  It blows my mind that you blame this country's problem on a small group of people meanwhile not one person that caused the GFC is in prison.  You people are so full of lies and nonsense that it makes me physically ill.

fibonacci
fibonacci

Sorry, but if you come here illegally you are an illegal.  My father came here in 1973 LEGALLY and LEARNED ENGLISH by watching Clint Eastwood movies and from talking to GIs stationed during Vietnam.  If my dad can come here LEGALLY, LEARN ENGLISH, AND ASSIMILATE, then so can everyone else.  It's funny how people won't tolerate someone cutting in line in front of them at all, but these morons try to shove illegals down our throat when they're doing the same exact thing--cutting in line in front of everyone else trying to come here legally.  Why should they get free health care  that allows them to have kids here that will end up getting free education when tax payers are stuck with the bill?  Why is it millions of our legal citizens don't even have proper access to health care or get burdened with huge bills when health care is needed, yet illegal immigrants are allowed to simply walk in and clog up our ERs all for free?



ICLABGOD
ICLABGOD

How about we called the Undocumented Criminals.

harper626
harper626

We can no longer refer to criminals as "criminals".    It places a stigma on the person.   From now on they are to be referred to as the "legally challenged".    Let's be politically correct folks.

CaliforniaEagle
CaliforniaEagle

AmieMarie7, I recommend "alien in the U.S. illegally." Alien is a better word to use than immigrant since it is defined in the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 USC 1101: (3)The term “alien” means any person not a citizen or national of the United States. An immigrant is an alien who intends to reside indefinitely, but an alien illegally in the U.S. could be a non-immigrant (alien who intends to reside temporarily). Aren't words fun?!

CharlesScamardo
CharlesScamardo

AP just doing what liberals do....Political Correctness. Never cease with these people or their whack job ideology.

DonKeyhotay
DonKeyhotay

  Cue the White Trash Racist whiners ...

HarveyWallbanger
HarveyWallbanger

Hey everyone. This is the AP, not black letter law. They do not have authority so ,,,, I don't care.

HarveyWallbanger
HarveyWallbanger

It's no fun, being an illegal alien! no no no no no no no it's no fun being an illegal alien!

MikeO'Lary
MikeO'Lary

"Criminal" - there. Problem solved. And it is an accurate description also.

drudown
drudown

Conspicuously, despite the fiscal shortfall (see, e.g., Sequester cuts), the People have yet to hear a SINGLE member of Congress articulate how the United States intends on paying for, inter alia, the Educational, Health Care, Judicial, and Penal costs that will PROXIMATELY RESULT from the proposed "immigration reform". Instead of RAISING REVENUE pursuant to its prescribed duties, the Congress deems it necessary and prudent to pass Legislation that (1) it refuses to even take ownership of [see, e.g., recent law regarding labeling Genetically Engineered foods] and (2) that purports to LIMIT the Federal/State governments' ability to REGULATE any given industry, i.e., despite the self-evident fact it touch and concerns Interstate Commerce.

In short, the "immigration reform" issue shows how much more Congress unapologetically subverts the People's strategic interests compared to the Independent Judiciary and Executive branch- two necessary branches of government being starved of needed revenue on account of the GOP's treasonous "no new revenue" agenda.

Er, "no new taxes".

Tell me, where does such an agenda lead? 

(crow: 'caw, caw')

Let's vote the GOP obstructionists out instead.

If nothing else, the likes of McCain, Graham and Rand Paul "stumping" to "legalize" 20,000,000 CITIZENS OF OTHER SOVEREIGNS should make even the most ardent GOP voter disillusioned from their lies.

"After the event, even the fool is wise." -Vicount Symonds


Mytake
Mytake

This is ludicrous. This politically correct crap has GOT to stop! Whatever happened to freedom of the press? It is outrageous that the reporters are being told they cannot use this phrase, which accurately describes these people. Or if you prefer, use illegal aliens. Whatever you call them, put ILLEGAL in there somewhere because that is what these scum are. They broke they law by sneaking into this country and are nothing but criminals. And before somebody plays the race card, I don't care what race these leeches are - black, brown or lily white - if you're here illegally, get out and quit sucking up social services and demanding "rights" that are not yours to have. This whole immigration reform issue is crap. Enforce the laws we have now, secure out border and do NOT give amnesty to these losers.That will just encourage more of them to break the law, take jobs away from Americans and drive down the wage base for what USED to be good paying jobs. Pack up, take your snot-nosed kids with you and get out of OUR country.

PeteCocker
PeteCocker

I thought crossing the border without permission was a felony. Why not call them felons?

ChasityBrewsterAlva
ChasityBrewsterAlva

So basically we can call all of you illegal Americans and that's just fine and dandy with all of you?  You've all violated a law or two in your time so don't try to act prim and proper about it.  From speeding, to trespassing, clean out your own closet, Illegal Americans! 

WOA
WOA

I disagree...  The PROPER term is ILLEGAL ALIEN.. They are NOT Immigrants and should have no more status than any FELON who has not "done their time"


mememymy
mememymy

I guess that next they'll be afraid of hurting the feelings of drug dealers, so they'll start referring to them as "unlicensed pharmacists".

DonnyDarkoh
DonnyDarkoh

The reason we're not very culturally sensitive to illegal aliens is because they broke the law.  So while we treat asians as people, calling them asian rather than oriental, we treat lawbreakers as sub-people or sub-citizens.  Illegal aliens themselves feel like sub-citizens, and that's exactly why the elite are importing them and enabling them to stay with websites like www.welcometousa.gov.  Sub-people don't demand high pay, decent benefits, and a large piece of the pie. They wont' complain that US citizens don't have as many rights as they used to or are taxed higher because they have no knowledge of US history.  They feel lucky just to have made it here.  Personally, I think it's a tax on resources.  The US standard of living is much higher, and illegal immigrants tend to out-reproduce US citizens (they are much more likely to be Catholic).  There will be many more people and much fewer resources.  I think the US, with its high standard of living, needs to be limited in its numbers.  Instead, the elite's plan will be to acclimate US citizens to a more third-world standard of living by forcing overpopulation in the US and forcing resources like water and gas to be scarce.  They'll change this country into an entitlement society.

drudown
drudown

Just this: no United States citizen can illegally cross the border with Mexico or Canada and magically acquire the Privileges and Immunities of citizenship in either sovereign. 

In fact, there is no corollary in any Westernized nation for good reason: the rule of law works and is. 

RichardCranium
RichardCranium

Please visit https://www.numbersusa.com/petition?id=14372 if you feel immigration laws should be applied equally to all within the borders of the USA.  NumbersUSA.com has been the leader in fighting all prior amnesties and is the expert on immigration-related matters.

Millions of Americans and LEGAL IMMIGRANTS support he attrition thru enforcement approach and prefer equal enforcement of existing laws!

SlappyMcStretchnuts
SlappyMcStretchnuts

Oh yay!  While we're going down the path of PC Insanity, can we also please rename "murderers" as "retroactive abortion providers?"  Thanks!  Love you, mean it...

DaveFrancis
DaveFrancis

The forewarning bell must ring out, that the borders are not only unsafe for the Border Patrol, but for county sheriffs, town people, ranchers and land owners who live along the border region and live in danger every day; some of these regions either the South side or in our nationare being controlled by the drug cartels. The border fence remains an anomaly, because this administration continues to crow out from U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and the left wing press that the border is secure.If it wasn’t such a mind anesthetizing lie, it would be laughable when the border is not anywhere near safe? That it stretches on for miles with nothing to separate the United States from Mexico, but some old lengths of rusty barbed wire. If you tend to be are interested in the truth about the Southern border, you can see actual aerial photographs showing where the politicians have been misled, given a deliberate tour of the border fence where it exhibits it strongest points, but few politicians ever venture out of the area and so remain ignorant; never seeing outside of the towering fence barriers in heavy population areas. The American Patrol group has done extensive surveys of the regions where there is non-existence border fence. Video and picture displays the fence where it’s very prominent in heavily populace sectors, but outside these confines it dwindles mostly to nothing.

THEY ARE COMING AND WILL KEEP COMING IN EVER LARGER NUMBERS, ENCOURAGED BY THE MAGNET OF MASS AMNESTY.

The2006 Secure fence as originally planned for most of the U.S. border is most visible in San Diego, California and that’s it? Just 15 miles erected as a physical deterrent, decorated with cruel concertina barbs and erected as two fences right down into the sea. In actual fact its two parallel barriers that according to records is completing an exception job, of inhibiting thousands of poverty stricken illegal aliens, criminal elements slipping into California. Janet Napolitano can say what she will about the so called great fence built through California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, as “Free Speech” is allowed at this present time, but people are currently beginning to wonder why the Obama Administration is buying up tons of guns and bullets literary. Anyway--don’t take my word for anything that I enumerate, but judge for your selves by going to the American Patrol website.

America has a choice, which they can keep paying hundreds of billions of dollars to support the illegal alien invasion annually; a free ride for the illegal parents of children, which should only go to true citizens and residents with green cards. It’s obscuring the true fact, that slavery was the instigator of the 14th Amendment law, NOT crafted to give the progeny of illegal parent’s citizenship, for all their babies. THE BIRTHRIGHT CITIZENSHIP LAW WAS MEANT FOR THE DECENDANTS OF THE SLAVE TRADE IN THE 19TH CENTURY. This is a trillion dollar party package that has been going on for generations in pandering to potential undocumented Liberals and Democrats and thus finally destroying the wealth of America; a free giveaway in this rising welfare country. Never has there been a president that has given away food stamps in massive quantities, whether you are here legally or not? America is turning soft, where if you don’t want to work this administration will accommodate you as a “Freeloader.” Not just illegal aliens either, but citizens/legal residence as well? Our only possible chance to alleviate this drain on America’s prosperity is for Washington to issue a NATIONAL ID CARD. IT’S PURPOSE TO IDENTIFY THE POSSESSOR AND ITS USAGE TO VERIFY YOU AS A LEGAL INDIVIDUAL, STOP VOTER FRAUD, ID THEFT AND APPLYING FOR A GUN PERMIT.THE COST WOULD BE LIKE PENNIES, TO THE DOLLARS SPENT ON SO MANY OTHER PITIFUL IMPEDIMENTS?

Sue20
Sue20

If illegal alien isn't considered correct language then you're trying to stuff something unpalatable down law abiding citizens throats. How do you prosecute a US citizen for "anything" while giving benefits to law breakers.  Are we supposed to say thank you? No amount of whitewashing can cover what these people are nor the politicians that are covering for this outrage. Call them what they are, criminal aliens.

RRocklin
RRocklin

If you are here because you violated the law then you are here illegally. Why the word games?

vayankeegrl
vayankeegrl

Processes and confessions are undocumented. People who are here illegally are CRIMINALS

mslman71
mslman71

The comedy of wordsmithing. No matter what you call it, it is still the same thing. The new word will take on a negative connotation because the thing is still the same. 


RobertBaker
RobertBaker

The primary responsibility for creating economic opportunity for Mexicans is the Mexican government.

The very first act of Mexicans when they enter this country illegally is to commit a crime! There is a pathway to US citizenship and millions have availed themselves of it. It’s called getting in line. What would he say to those who took the legal path? You people are fools!

Furthermore, enforcing our immigration laws does not separate families; quite the opposite it reunites them. When illegals are deported to their country of origin, they are reunited with their grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins. It also gives them an opportunity to get in line if they want to emigrate.

GailKole
GailKole

Ok  Definately illegal, because they did not follow the law to gain access.  How about ILLEGAL TRESPASSER ? 

DOMESTIC SECURITY THREAT?  We can play semantics all day.  They are CRIMINALS AGAINST THE LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.  period.

aztecian
aztecian

its about time they stop using bigoted terms.  finally, gente can live with a little more dignity in their own land.

lanbr3
lanbr3

If somebody breaks the law they are doing something illegal.If an immigrant is breaking the immigration laws by being here, they are an illegal immigrant.Period.

What does AP call murderers and killers and rapists?  Have they found some warm and fuzzy politically correct names for those people that doesn't offend them?

RichardCranium
RichardCranium

Please visit NumbersUSA.com and fax your Senate, Congress and President FREE OF CHARGE on immigration-related matters.  They also will send out alerts on topics such as this one.

swearingcrow@aol.com
swearingcrow@aol.com

How about:  "Human Beings present within the boundaries of the United States or it's territories, under circumstances which may not be fully compatible with all current U.S. laws."

Amiemarie7
Amiemarie7

So if this is simply an issue of proper grammar, and not to cater to certain political groups or views, why are they not describing the situation instead of the person."Immigrant here illegally". "immigrated to the United States illegally". No matter what adjective you use prior to the noun, they still crossed the border and stayed ILLEGALLY so I expect that important fact to still be mentioned and focused on in any article. If any article including a person who entered the US illegally makes no mention of the criminal nature of the persons actions, and instead, does not specify the difference between this person and an immigrant who has followed all legal procedures, it will show the true intention of this language change. I do encourage any readers' comments to respond with the plain language they see most fitting, and not fall into the bandwagon.

TheresaPeters
TheresaPeters

Since the AP states that it wants to be sensitive people's feelings, it consequently must want to be informed of those feelings. Contact information for the AP: 212.621.1500 or  info@ap.org for general inquiries. 

DailyComments
DailyComments

So we can now say John Gotti was an undocumented purveyor?

FrankBurns1
FrankBurns1

Of course they are right. People in my neighborhood whose houses are not up to code are not called "illegal residents." Speeders are not called "illegal motorists." To be accurate, you need to describe the thing. These immigrants have not sought/been issued proper papers. Therefore they are undocumented. What could be simpler? That people argue about it at all just shows how tendentious the i-word is.

jerry48
jerry48

I wonder what the indians think about it ?

drudown
drudown

Dear "Activist" Congress:

No array of terms can even describe how the proposed "reform" would contravene the express language of the United States Constitution including, but not limited to the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. Taken to its illogical conclusion, not even a loose , somewhat reasonable or strict construction of the Constitution can reconcile how, under the proposed "path to citizenship", it does not violate the express intent of the Founding Fathers:


"No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States."

That's because they are not immigrants that have lawfully assimilated according to mandatory authority. They have passports from other nations with all the attendant privileges and immunities.

Why purport to wave magic election wands under the misguided pretext of unlimited "Big Government" powers that are against the People's interests? 

It is an exceedingly complex issue that cannot be rushed for any reasons, but given measured thought and Constitutional synthesis. 

CaliforniaEagle
CaliforniaEagle

This is another version of Orwellian Newspeak. "Illegal immigrant" was always shorthand for "immigrant illegally in the U.S." The style book now says, "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." Do you think editors will substitute, "Mr. Smith, an immigrant living in the U.S. illegally," or "Mr. Smith, an immigrant without legal permission," for "Mr. Smith, an illegal immigrant?" I don't!

I've always opposed the use of the term "undocumented." This article and what Mr. Kent (AP) says is correct: most aliens/foreigners/immigrants (your choice of word) have some form of documentation, often including their passport. The government estimates that some 40 per cent of "illegal immigrants" entered the U.S. lawfully, at ports of entry. By default, most had documents and are not therefore undocumented. 

The law (Title 8 United States Code) uses and defines the word "aliens," but we've already had to give up the use of that word in daily use because some people's feelings were hurt. I could accept what commenter Teviet suggested, "unlawfully present," but I think it's a bit wordy for a news article. I was surprised to see how common the term "illegal alien" is in the English-speaking world outside the U.S. 

jmac
jmac

The immigration fight is between The Chamber of Commerce, representing business, and the Unions, representing American labor.  If you want to complain about people from other countries doing our jobs, tell it to a Republican and a Republican Chamber of Commerce.  If you complain about Unions then stop complaining about others brought in to do our jobs.  Take your pick - you can't have it both ways.  

 " . . .  a deal on visas for low-skilled workers between the two pressure groups to which the gang had delegated the subject: the AFL-CIO, America’s biggest confederation of trade unions, and the United States Chamber of Commerce, which represents business. Bickering on this topic contributed to the collapse of the last big push for immigration reform, in 2007. This time the two sides have agreed on an elaborate formula which would hand out more visas when the economy is strong and fewer when it is weaker. Businesses would benefit from the admission of as many as 200,000 workers a year when times are good (and as few as 20,000 when they are not). The unions, meanwhile, are pleased with wording intended to prevent an influx of new labour from depressing wages or undermining workers’ rights. The main beneficiaries, naturally, would be the visa recipients, who would be allowed to change jobs and apply for permanent residence after a year—as they cannot do now.

teviet
teviet

The correct and general term used by USCIS is, I believe, "unlawfully-present alien".  This is a factual statement: the alien's presence is not sanctioned by law.  This does *not* imply that their removal is mandated by law, or that it was the result of an illegal action, or that they lack documentation.

As a not-so-hypothetical example, an H1B worker who is laid off is "unlawfully present" from the moment he receives his termination notice.  He has not done anything illegal, nor is he undocumented.  Officers will typically forgive short periods of unlawful presence, for example, if the alien needs to sell his house, pack up his property, arrange for his children to transfer to a new school, etc. etc.  But this is up to the discretion of the officer: there is by definition no law sanctioning the alien's continued presence.

jade7243
jade7243

@ndangelis70... Calling a "spade a 'spade'" is derogatory, especially since you're not referring to shovels or other garden tools.

I don't have an issue with the AP changing their stylebook to be more accurate, precise and sensitive. Judging by the nasty comments here, the AP is on the right track.

DaveHolden
DaveHolden

They are illegal aliens.  You can call them kittens but they won't be that either.  They jumped the border in the middle of the night, criminal employers hire them, there's nothing left to say.  Deport them. 

ndeangelis70
ndeangelis70

Who are these people in the "ap"?

Give me a break. Why can't we call a spade a spade.. illegal immigrants are in fact illegal. Did I miss something?