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Group to use 'illegal invaders' term in response to AP ban

April 03, 2013|By Cindy Chang

One group that advocates against illegal immigration said it will begin using the term "illegal invaders" after the Associated Press announced it would no longer use the term "illegal" or "illegal immigrant."

William Gheen, president of the Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, said the new nomenclature will combat what he called AP's "Big Brother" move. The term "immigrant" should be reserved for people who came to this country legally, he told the Times on Wednesday morning.

"It's the most run-amok PC thing I've ever seen in my life. It's political correctness on steroids," Gheen said of AP's directive to steer clear of the term "illegal immigrant."

Some immigrant activists believe the term unfairly demonizes undocumented immigrants, though the term is still commonly used by news organizations.

But Tuesday, one of the world's biggest news organizations said it would stop using it.

In a blog post, Associated Press Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll explained:

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.

Why did we make the change?

The discussions on this topic have been wide-ranging and include many people from many walks of life. (Earlier, they led us to reject descriptions such as “undocumented,” despite ardent support from some quarters, because it is not precise. A person may have plenty of documents, just not the ones required for legal residence.)

The new AP policy notes that "illegal" refers to the action, not the person. "Acceptable variations include living in or entering a country illegally or without legal permission," the AP wrote.

Some immigrants rights activists cheered AP's move and demanded other news organization take similar action.

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Twitter: @cindychangLA

cindy.chang@latimes.com

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