First came the smear that the perfectly descriptive and race neutral terms “illegal alien” or “illegal immigrant” were racist, as part of an open-borders effort to redefine the meaning of our immigration laws and those who break them as merely a paperwork problem.
Then came the capitulation by the Associated Press.
The term illegal immigration is acceptable, but do not label people as illegal immigrants, except in direct quotes. Undocumented immigrant, undocumented worker and unauthorized immigrant are acceptable terms — depending on accuracy, clarity and context — for foreign nationals who are in the country illegally. An alternative is to use a phrase such as “people who entered the U.S. illegally” or “living in the country without legal permission.”
Avoid using the word alien to refer to immigrants, except in quoted matter or official government designations. Do not use illegal or illegals as a noun. It is considered pejorative by most immigrants. Migrant can be used instead of immigrant in a tight space.
It’s not just a “culture” war, it’s a language war. And we have lost the language.
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