The Associated Press is changing the way it describes people who come to the United States illegally. In a post on the AP blog titled “‘Illegal immigrant’ no more,” AP Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll explains the decision to erase “illegal immigrant” from the AP Stylebook.
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.
So, how exactly does the new AP Stylebook tell writers to describe, undocumented, er, illegal aliens, er, illegal immigrants, er…?
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?
And those who qualify for Obama’s dreamers program? They aren’t illegal, either.