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News outlets to stop using offensive immigration terms

A long-overdue change is happening in the way mainstream U.S. media refers to immigrants who are in the country without legal documentation. We've written before about the stigmatizing, offensive connotations associated with the term "illegal immigrant." After all, not having official immigration documents is not a criminal matter; it's a civil one.

Now, after months of criticism, the Associated Press has announced that it will cease using the offensive term, likely replacing it with something more accurate, such as "living in the country without legal permission." Other offensive terms such as "illegal aliens" or "illegals" had already been dropped from the AP style guide.

While some news sources, such as the Huffington Post, had already stopped using "illegal immigrant" in their reporting, one major news organization still does: The New York Times. It was reported, however, that the staff at the Times is currently discussing a change and that any standardized alteration would be announced in the near future.

These positive steps in the right direction signal a wider change in the national political climate. Most Americans support an easier path to citizenship, and lawmakers appear to be working more intently on meaningful immigration reform than they have in years.

For immigrants who are waiting or working for permanent residency, these developments can't unfold quickly enough. People throughout New York are advocating for a better immigration system, one that doesn't tear apart families and leave immigrants waiting for years and years for judgments.

To ensure that their cases are handled carefully and efficiently, immigrants in New York may want to explore their legal options by consulting with a citizenship attorney.

Source: Huffington Post, "Will The New York Times Next Drop 'Illegal Immigrant?'" Michael Calderone, April 2, 2013

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