Something to Remember When Talking About Immigration

Debates about immigration often overlook the important fact that the immigrants in question are people. People with families, feelings, hopes, dreams, and fears. Several news outlets have already stopped using the term “illegal immigrant,” but the Associated Press announced this week that it is nixing the term from its stylebook (the journalistic “grammar bible”).

“The Stylebook no longer sanctions the term ‘illegal immigrant’ or the use of ‘illegal’ to describe a person,” a blog post from AP Executive Editor Kathleen Carrolexplains. “Instead, it tells users that ‘illegal’ should describe only an action, such as living in or immigrating to a country illegally.”

The AP describes its choice in terms familiar to the feminist and disability rights movements, and explains that it is moving towards what is often called Person Centered Language. For instance, it’s inappropriate to refer to someone as a disabled person, rather, they are a person with a disability. Changing the language of reporting is a step in the right direction, don’t you think?

Image by Favianna Rodriguez

Image by Favianna Rodriguez

Share Your Thoughts