When the Associated Press announced it was dropping the use of the term “illegal immigrant,” “Tonight” show host Jay Leno joked that it was being replaced with “undocumented Democrat.”
Meanwhile, a pro-legal immigration organization has come up with another response. Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, or ALIPAC, says it now will use the term “illegal invader” to balance AP’s edited terminology.
“This Big Brother move by AP is political correctness on steroids,” said William Gheen, president of ALIPAC. “What class of criminals will the Associated Press and Congress make disappear next with the stroke of a pen?”
He said ALIPAC is changing its terminology for all future writings, including press releases and reports, “in response to the totalitarian steps by the Associated Press to make ‘illegal immigrants’ disappear.”
“ALIPAC will now use the more accurate term ‘illegal invaders’ or simply ‘illegals’ to describe the class of criminals represented by the more than 12 million people on American soil who have chosen to violate America’s immigration laws and borders,” the organization said.
The group said its legal immigrant supporters have complained that the word “immigrant” should not be used to describe those “who chose to overstay their visas or sneak into America under cover of darkness with the aid of drug smuggling murderous cartel operatives.”
Said ALIPAC: “‘Immigrant’ is considered to be an honorable or noble term describing a law abiding and respectful person. Illegal invaders are not respectful nor do they abide by or respect American laws!”
Gheen accused the AP of taking a further step in a campaign to whitewash crime.
“We’ve documented the AP concealing crimes by illegal immigrants for years and now they have made all illegal immigrants disappear with the stroke of a pen!” Gheen said. “To compensate for this Big Brother action from AP, ALIPAC will now refer to this class of lawbreakers as ‘illegal invaders’ in all of our press releases since our legal immigrant supporters feel the noble term of immigrant is misapplied to the illegals.”
On an AP blog yesterday, Kathleen Carroll, an AP editor, said: “The (AP) 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.”
She continued: “Is this the best way to describe someone in the country without permission? We believe that it is for now.”
She said the new definition is being employed immediately. It will say:
Illegal immigration: Entering or residing in a country in violation of civil or criminal law. Except in direct quotes essential to the story, use illegal only to refer to an action, not a person: illegal immigration, but not illegal immigrant. Acceptable variations include living in or entering a country illegally or without legal permission.
Except in direct quotations, do not use the terms illegal alien, an illegal, illegals or undocumented.
Do not describe people as violating immigration laws without attribution.
Specify wherever possible how someone entered the country illegally and from where. Crossed the border? Overstayed a visa? What nationality?
People who were brought into the country as children should not be described as having immigrated illegally. For people granted a temporary right to remain in the U.S. under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, use temporary resident status, with details on the program lower in the story.
Commented ABC: “We wrote last year about how most of America’s top college newspapers and major TV networks, including ABC, NBC and CNN, have vowed to stop using the term. Nearly half of Latino voters polled last year in a Fox News Latino survey said that they find the term ‘illegal immigrant’ offensive. A coalition of linguists also came together last year to pressure media companies to drop ‘illegal immigrant,’ calling it ‘neither neutral nor accurate.’”
Said Leno: “And in a groundbreaking move, the Associated Press, the largest news gathering outlet in the world, will no longer use the term ‘illegal immigrant.’ That is out. No longer ‘illegal immigrant.’ They will now use the phrase ‘undocumented Democrat.’ That is the newest – ‘undocumented Democrat.’”