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    L.A. Times outdoes even the language police — tosses “illegal immigrant” and “undocumented immigrant”

    L.A. Times outdoes even the language police — tosses “illegal immigrant” and “undocumented immigrant”

    I knew we lost “illegal immigrant” and “illegal immigration” to the language police.

    The preferred and completely politically correct substitute term was supposed to be “undocumented immigrant.”

    Even Colorlines, the group pushing the claim that “illegal immigrant” is racist, used the term “undocumented immigrant” in a recent story:

    Hundreds of undocumented immigrants have been deported back to their country of origin by hospitals seeking to curb high costs. According to a recent report compiled by immigrant advocacy groups at least 600 immigrants were removed over a five-year period because they were ineligible for public insurance as a result of their immigration status.

    But the L.A. Times is going beyond even Colorlines, and will no longer use “undocumented immigrant.”

    L.A. Times updates guidelines for covering immigration (h/t @mlcaderone)

    The Los Angeles Times has announced new guidelines for covering immigration.

    The goal is to “provide relevance and context and to avoid labels.”

    That means stories will no longer refer to individuals as “illegal immigrants” or “undocumented immigrants,” but instead will describe a person’s circumstances.

    A memo from The Times’ Standards and Practices Committee announcing the change explains the move away from labels:

    ” ‘Illegal immigrants’ is overly broad and does not accurately apply in every situation. The alternative suggested by the 1995 guidelines, ‘undocumented immigrants,’ similarly falls short of our goal of precision. It is also untrue in many cases, as with immigrants who possess passports or other documentation but lack valid visas.”


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    taznar | May 2, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    One valid way of describing a person’s “circumstances” is to clearly state whether or not they are in the country legally. So not using the term “illegal immigrant” is actually hiding the person’s “circumstances”.

    This is straight-up Orwellian speech they’re advocating. Let’s all practice our goodspeak instead of our realspeak.

    wpngjstr | May 2, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    I’m willing to give up “illegal immigrant”, since illegal ususally applies to objects, and suggests a lack of choice by the subject.
    I far prefer “criminal immigrant”
    (a drug is illegal, a person is a criminal)

      Juba Doobai! in reply to wpngjstr. | May 3, 2013 at 12:49 am


      Illegal is made up of a prefix ‘il’ which means ‘not’ and ‘legal’ meaning according to law.

      So, illegal merely means not by law or not according to law. Criminal, yes. But you’re hair splitting on drugs and people.If the law says you should have a legal document that says you’re legally allowed to be here and you don’t have it, you’re illegal.

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