The Wall Street Journal, owned by billionaire Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., is banning its reporters from using the term “illegal immigrant” and “illegal” to refer to illegal aliens living in the United States.
This week, in an update its style guide, the Journal states that while it will allow reporters to continue using the term “illegal immigration” to describe the process of illegal aliens arriving and staying in the U.S., it will no longer permit reporters to describe individuals as “illegal” or “illegal immigrant” in an effort to stop “labeling people.”
The Journal style guide revisions now state:
Illegal immigration describes the actions of people who cross borders illegally or remain in a country after their legal right to stay has expired. Use illegal to refer only to an act, not to a person or people: illegal immigration, but not illegal immigrant(s). When describing a broad category of immigrants, use alternatives such as immigrants who entered the country illegally … people living in the U.S. unlawfully or without the legal right…. When needed, the phrase lacking permanent legal status is accurate shorthand covering both those in the country illegally and those with a protected status that shields them from deportation. [Emphasis added]
Illegal immigration is a highly charged issue that must be covered with precision and sensitivity, without taking sides or resorting to pejorative labels or to euphemisms that avoid calling acts in violation of immigration law what they are—illegal. It is acceptable to write about illegal immigration as a process or issue: Then–President Donald Trumpmade illegal immigration a centerpiece of his presidency. But the shorthand phrases commonly used in the U.S.—illegal immigrants, undocumented immigrants, unauthorized immigrants, illegal aliens—have become politicized or lack precision. Don’t use such labels except when quoting people or official documents. [Emphasis added]
The Journal is only the latest establishment media publication to ban the use of accurate terms that describe illegal aliens living in the U.S. In 2013, as Breitbart News reported at the time, the Associated Press (AP) banned its reporters from using the term “illegal immigrant” and “illegal” to describe illegal aliens.
Most recently, President Joe Biden’s administration has banned the use of the terms “illegal alien” and “assimilation” and has instead blanketed all foreign nationals in the U.S. as “noncitizens” and “undocumented noncitizens.”
House Democrats filed legislation in January to ban the use of the term “illegal alien” and “alien” in federal law and documents.
“Illegal alien” as a description for foreign nationals living illegally in the U.S. was codified into federal statute in 1986 by the Immigration Reform and Control Act and the term “alien” regularly refers to noncitizens or non-U.S. nationals in federal law.
The term “undocumented” to describe illegal aliens, however, incorrectly assumes that all illegal aliens are undetected by the federal government. On the contrary, there are a number of categories of illegal aliens who have been documented as entering the U.S. and not leaving, such as visa overstays or recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter here.
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