What’s In a Name? “Illegal” vs. “Undocumented”

Monday, April 30, 2012

The term “illegal immigrant” has appeared frequently in media reports last week as the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on the Obama administration’s challenge to Arizona’s tough immigration law SB 1070.

Many immigrant advocates argue that “illegal immigrant” is an offensive and inaccurate label for people who reside in the U.S. without legal documents authorizing their presence.  In response to this criticism, a number of news organizations have tempered - but not abandoned – their use of the phrase.  The New York Times, consider “illegal immigrant” a more neutral term than the phrase “undocumented immigrant,” which is preferred by many immigrant advocates.   However the Times does not use the phrase “illegal alien” in its reporting.

(At Feet in 2 Worlds we use “undocumented immigrant” in our reporting, and occasionally “unauthorized immigrant.”)

In this podcast, Fi2W executive producer John Rudolph discusses the editorial and political implications of this debate over terminology with Julia Preston, national immigration correspondent for the New York Times, and Monica Novoa, a writer for Colorlines and the organizer of the “Drop the I-Word” campaign, which has been urging news organizations to stop using “illegal immigrant” in their reporting.


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Comments [1]

Antonia Gilligab from Emerson

Like breaking into a bank doesn't make you a bank robber? Perhaps you are just an "unregistered employee". Illegal aliens are concentrated in the south, southwest border and few large cities (Chicago, NY, etc). They are not educated to American standards, they largely don't know English (poor upward mobility). They will work with "coyotes" and so doing help the drug trade. Drugs and illegals it is all the same to them They have diversified. Now they can spread the cost over a wider margin.

Why is that rich republicans want to give then citizenship: to drive down wages for drop out relate agricultrula work (Texas) of to provide future jobs at a Hamburger stands. The unions betraying their educated older members see this as the next organizing area after government employees

Democrats favor the because they believe they will lead to a permanent Democratic block.

But don't we need something like Einstein Immigration. Pick the candidates who are fluent in English and have at least a BA degree. No more family members unless the meet the education criteria and and have sufficient means to get started in America.

Oh by the way:
Ask the Guatemalans how they are treated in Mexico? Mexico passed a new law prohibiting beating and return of illegals That was a good PR north of the Rio Grand but it you read reports the trains are still ruining and the people are still be raped by the police, soldiers and coyotes

The illegals aren't depressing the wages and jobs of doctors or lawyers. They are taking jobs from poor minorities (Afro Americans)who we have historically abused.

May. 03 2012 09:36 AM

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