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The Associated Press will no longer use the term "illegal immigrant."

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The Associated Press, the largest news-gathering outlet in the world, will no longer use the term "illegal immigrant."



The news came in the form of a blog entry authored by Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll on Tuesday afternoon, explaining that the decision is part of the company's on-going attempt to rid their Stylebook of labels.



 



"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," Carroll wrote.



 



The company's decision comes after years of controversy over the term. Fusion, the ABC-Univision joint venture, does not use "illegal immigrant" because we believe it dehumanizes those it describes and we find it to be linguistically inaccurate.



We wrote last year about how most of America's top college newspapers and major TV networks, including ABC, NBC and CNN, have vowed to stop using the term. Nearly half of Latino voters polled last year in a Fox News Latino survey said that they find the term "illegal immigrant" offensive. A coalition of linguists also came together last year to pressure media companies to drop "illegal immigrant," calling it "neither neutral nor accurate." And some critics of the term, like journalist Maria Hinojosa, argue that those newsrooms that have continued to classify people as "illegal" lack diversity.



 



Last fall, the AP said they would restrict the usage of "illegal immigrant" to certain circumstances due to the complexity of the immigration experience. Paul Colford, the director of media relations for the AP, addressed the issue in an email, saying that "ongoing, lively, internal conversation" about "illegal immigrant" continued after that announcement.



AP Stylebook editors sat down with a number of groups who were concerned about their entry on the the term in recent years and "sought the views of a cross section of AP staffers" on the issue, according to Colford.



 



Kathleen Carroll also noted in the Tuesday blog post that the AP prefers to label "behavior" rather than "people," writing that instead of using the term "schizophrenic," the AP now prefers saying that one is "diagnosed with schizophrenia."



 



"And that discussion about labeling people, instead of behavior, led us back to 'illegal immigrant' again. We concluded that to be consistent, we needed to change our guidance," Carroll wrote. "So we have."



For many, the news will surely come as a huge victory. Charlie Garcia, an opinion columnist for Fox News, CNN and The Huffington Post who has spoken out against the term, said last year that getting the AP to drop the term was the "big fish" in the journalistic debate, because it is the most widely used styleguide in the U.S.



"The AP is the main problem on this issue, because everybody uses them as an excuse," Garcia said.



 



The "greater majority" of the 1,400 U.S. newspapers that make up the Associated Press Cooperative likely follow AP style, Colford wrote. Now that the AP has finally come around, making a decision that will affect the word choice of hundreds of outlets across the country, we're still waiting on one major U.S. company to drop the term.



New York Times, it's your move.


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The action is illegal. The person committing the illegal action is a criminal. If they want to call them criminal immigrants I think they're on the right track.

 

Seriously, if you are an immigrant and your status is not legal, you are an illegal immigrant. Call it anything you want but that's the reality of it. If you aren't licensed to sell liquor and you sell it, anyway, you are an illegal distributor. The PC police should get a boot in their ass.

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There seems to be a big PC push to change terms,no doubt to modify thinking.



Maybe rape will turn into an unauthorized sexual encounter.



 



 



 



Comedians can be as offensive as they want, because they're comedians. Unlike news organizations or politicians, comedians don't have an obligation to serve a public or a citizenry. Their primary function is to entertain -- and sometimes that means turning a few people off.



Still, that doesn't mean that their words don't shape the way we think. That's why I want to take a moment to talk about how often the phrase "illegal immigrant" has been used in recent comedic bits, despite the fact that about half of American Latinos find the term offensive.



 



A number of comedians (including some I really love!), like Jimmy Fallon and Ricky Gervais, have used the term "illegal immigrant" as shorthand for immigrants without authorization, in recent weeks. Jimmy Fallon has used the term at least four times (five times if you count using it twice in one sentence) in the past couple of months in his opening monologue.



Here's the rundown:



 



On January 15th, he joked: "The president will push for a path to citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. Obama says it's all part of his plan to give every man, woman, and child the chance to pay more taxes."



On January 31st he said, "A bipartisan group of senators has unveiled a plan that would create a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. Or as immigrants call that, 'a tunnel.'"



 



On March 1st he used the following joke in his opening monologue: "New spending cuts allowed 300 illegal immigrants to be released from jail in Arizona. Or as officials put it, 'Catch ya later.'"



And on March 19th, he opened with, "Today Kentucky Senator Rand Paul announced that he supports a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, or as illegal immigrants put it 'Who do you think is gonna build that path?"



 



It's not just Fallon, though.



Last month, on Valentine's Day, Ricky Gervais tweeted "Guys, show how much you love you [sic] wife tonight in the restaurant by buying a dead rose from the illegal immigrant who pops in." The tweet, which went out to over 4 million Twitter followers, got thousands of retweets, but was soon deleted. Latino Rebels blog was none too happy, and tweeted, "Dear @rickygervais we captured your original "illegal immigrant" tweet. Why did you delete it from your stream?" They never got a response.



I've never really wanted to play the role of humor police. But to me, it doesn't seem "illegal immigrant" is being used deliberately in the place of other phrases like "unauthorized immigrants" or "undocumented immigrants" in the aforementioned instances. Rather, it seems Fallon and friends simply don't know -- they don't know that the term is off-putting to many people because it demeans and dehumanizes. Whereas comedians like Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart ironically use phrases like "the illegals" and "illegal aliens" to satirize the Republican party's stance on immigration, Fallon's use of "illegal immigrant" in context doesn't seem to be satire, but only part of a setup for his punchlines.



 



This is why I conclude that, maybe Fallon's writers room just doesn't know. Maybe they don't know that a coalition of linguists have come out against the word because it is neither neutral nor accurate. Or perhaps they haven't heard of the growing Drop The I-Word campaign, hosted by the ColorLines blog, and championed by Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Jose Antonio Vargas






 






In recent years, many journalists, linguists, politicians,and activists have stood up against the term, vowing to ensure that their own outlets stop using it.



Last year, we wrote about how major news outlets, including CNN, NBC News (the same station which airs Fallon's show), ABC, Univision, Fox News Latino, and the Huffington Post, among others, have vowed to drop the term due to its demeaning undertones. We have also written about how many of the newsrooms that still use the term (like the Associated Press and the New York Times) lack Hi ic leadership and/or newsroom diversity. We've too have written about how most of the nation's top college newspapers have banned the term 'illegal immigrant' from their pages.



Still, the word has persisted in the realm of comedy, especially on Fallon's show. It's hard for me to imagine that if half of Caucasian Americans were offended by the phrase that it would still be used casually by mainstream media outlets and comedians on popular late night talk shows.



So, Jimmy Fallon, I love you, but please -- drop the term?

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So, a private company that sells news stories wants to change their lexicon so as not to offend a segment of potentil customers and you guys think it is some larger conspiracy theory? Really?

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So, a private company that sells news stories wants to change their lexicon so as not to offend a segment of potentil customers and you guys think it is some larger conspiracy theory? Really?

 

I don't see an issue with it. How soon till we hear the AP running stories orcomplaining about a senator who said "illegal Immigrant" ?

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So, a private company that sells news stories wants to change their lexicon so as not to offend a segment of potentil customers and you guys think it is some larger conspiracy theory? Really?

 

Yeah, the "no speeka engleesh" market segment is of enormous importance to the Associated Press. When did they start publishing in Spanish?

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the only lexicon that matters is the justice department

 

 

illegal immigrants will stil be illegal immigrants

 

 

what some folks cannot comprehend is that a child who was brought here by their parents has broken no law so they are neither illegal or legal immigrants. Many want to call them illegal immigrants even through the term doesn't apply. They seem to get bothered by this. They will say things like if they are not legal they must be illegal - even thought the law recognizes that children are treated differently than adults.

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So, a private company that sells news stories wants to change their lexicon so as not to offend a segment of potentil customers and you guys think it is some larger conspiracy theory? Really?

 

Yeah, the "no speeka engleesh" market segment is of enormous importance to the Associated Press. When did they start publishing in Spanish?

 

Should we put you in the conspiracy theory camp?

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Should we put you in the conspiracy theory camp?

 

he's a cuban they don't like the brown people - like assuming they cannot read english

 

Whoa. Watch it with the Cuban stuff. RW will going running to Tim.

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he's a cuban they don't like the brown people - like assuming they cannot read english

 

I'm American. My father was Cuban. That's the difference between me and you. You are an "hispanic" who lives in America and it doesn't matter that you were born here, your home boys, including illegal aliens are more important than this country and it's laws and it's immigration policy and it's welfare to you. I don't give a flip if the illegal immigrants come from Mexico, Costa Rica, Cuba, or Jolly old England, they need to get the f*** out and do it legally. My father did. My wife did. And your paisanos need to do it legally, too.

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