The Santa Barbara News-Press will not change its usage of the term “illegals” to describe people in the United States without permission, despite an attack on Wednesday night or Thursday morning that left the message, “The border is illegal, not the people who cross it,” spray-painted in red on its front entrance.
The paper had published a story regarding California giving illegal immigrants driver’s licenses and referred to the recipients as “illegals,” prompting an outcry from those claiming the term was inappropriate.
Undaunted by the attack, according to Fox News, the paper defiantly issued a statement defending its practice of using the term “illegals” that read:
It has been the practice for nearly 10 years at the Santa Barbara News-Press to describe people living in this country illegally as “illegals” regardless of their country of origin. This practice is under fire by some immigration groups who believe that this term is demeaning and does not accurately reflect the status of “undocumented immigrants,” one of several terms other media use to describe people in the Unites States illegally…It is an appropriate term in describing someone as “illegal” if they are in this country illegally.
Other areas in the city were targeted by vandals demonstrating their anger over the illegal immigrant issue: the walkway through Storke Placita and the sidewalk near Santa Barbara City Hall were also defaced with graffiti.
Speaking of the attack on the newspaper, Santa Barbara Police Officer Mitch Jan told Fox News, “The vandalism and the damage speak for itself, as well as the motivation behind it. this point in time, I don’t really have any suspect information. Without cameras or an eyewitness, we really don’t know who would be responsible.”
Pew Research reported in 2013 that the term “illegal immigrant” was “still the phrase newspapers most often use to describe foreigners living in the United States without proper documentation.” Pew added that there has been an ebb and flow in the usage of the term; in 2002 it was used 62% of the time; in 2007, 30% of the time, and in 2013, 49% of the time. In 2013, both the Los Angeles Times and the Associated Press renounced use of the term.