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AP Drops ‘Illegal Immigrant’; Language For A New Reality


Lilia Velasquez is a San Diego attorney specializing in immigration and nationality law.

Grant Barrett is co-host of public radio's "A Way With Words."


Response To AP Dropping 'Illegal Immigrant'

Alisa Barba for Fronteras Desk: When Is An 'Illegal Immigrant' No Longer Illegal?

Roy Peter Clark for Poynter: AP dumps ‘illegal immigrant’ but not neutrality

Tim Graham for Newsbusters: On Pacifica, Leftist Claims Victory in AP Stylebook Change, Hope for Victory on Immigration Next

The Associated Press announced this week that it would adopt a policy followed for years by many news organizations, including KPBS, of not using the term "illegal immigrant." The rationale given by the AP Stylebook is that illegal can refer to an action, but not a person.

This change comes as lawmakers in Washington are working to hammer out a plan to reform the nation's immigration policy. Many of those who might be called "illegal" now could be taking the first steps on a pathway to citizenship by the end of the year.

It's an issue about language evolving to meet new realities, but is this suggested change in language substantive? Practical? More accurate? Or is it merely more politically correct?

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