AP Drops "Illegal Immigrant" From Style Book

It's about time. The Associated Press has dropped the term "illegal immigrant" from its stylebook. It explains:

The 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.

Why did we make the change? The discussions on this topic have been wide-ranging and include many people from many walks of life. (Earlier, they led us to reject descriptions such as “undocumented,” despite ardent support from some quarters, because it is not precise. A person may have plenty of documents, just not the ones required for legal residence.)


I will continue to use "undocumented." (Note to the AP: Residency is not the issue. The issue is whether one's presence in the U.S. is authorized.)

Having the proper documents is what distinguishes a person whose presence is authorized from a person whose presence is unauthorized. It is a requirement for immigrants, their visiting relatives, and for non-immigrant visitors, such as tourists, temporary workers, and students. Proper documentation is the common denominator.

An undocumented person simply means a person who is present in the U.S. without proper authorization for his or her particular circumstances. Unauthorized presence is not a crime.

Many undocumented persons enter the country lawfully and overstay their visa. Overstaying a visa is also not a crime. It carries civil consequences with respect to one's ability to obtain future visas or a green card, and it can result in one being physically removed from the country, but it is not a crime.

Up to 40% of those whose presence in the U.S. is unauthorized entered the country lawfully. Many simply overstayed their visas. While this can result in one becoming out of status, which may make their presence unauthorized, there are also ways to cure being out of status so one’s presence does not become unauthorized. Neither overstaying one's visa, being out of status or unauthorized presence is a crime.

While overstaying one’s visa or being out of status can result in physical removal from the U.s., an order of removal is not reflective of criminal activity because removal proceedings are civil, not criminal.

Nor is it a crime to fail to depart the U.S. after an order of removal has been entered. Failure to depart following a removal order is also a civil matter.

What is a crime? Entering the U.S. illegally. A first offense is a misdemeanor carrying up to six months in jail and civil penalties. the offense applies to one who:

  • enters or attempts to enter the United States at any time or place other than as designated by immigration officers, or
  • eludes examination or inspection by immigration officers, or
  • attempts to enter or obtains entry to the United States by a willfully false or misleading representation or the willful concealment of a material fact.

Another crime is illegal re-entry after deportation, which has more substantial penalties.

For the 40% of the undocumented population who entered the U.S. lawfully, their presence here, while it may be unauthorized, is not illegal. The notion that they are “illegal” or have committed a crime is simply inaccurate.

Another term used for an undocumented person is "unauthorized alien." But the term alien comes from the Immigration and Naturalization Act and may not be applicable to mere visitors who obtain non-immigrant visas rather than immigrant visas or green cards. So not every person whose presence is unauthorized is an immigrant or alien. More examples here and here.

It seems to me the most inclusive descriptor for those whose presence is unauthorized is “undocumented person,” because the determining factor as to whether their presence is unauthorized is the documentation required for their individual circumstances. They may or may not be “aliens” or immigrants.

Here is a Congressional Research Report on "Unauthorized Aliens" dated February, 2013.

Regardless, the principal point is that unauthorized presence is a status, not a crime. There is no such thing as an illegal person. No human being is illegal. I’m glad the AP has decided to recognize this. It’s time other media outlets did too.

I stopped linking to articles using the word “illegal” in describing a person years ago and urge others do the same. For every news item on immigration, there are ten publications reporting it. Link to one who uses an acceptable rather than deprecated term in their coverage.

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    comment deleted for (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 04:08:28 AM EST
    inappropriate language. Saying you shouldn't call someone a "so and so" is just as bad as calling them that. It spreads the use of the unacceptable word.

    And you couldn't just edit that part? (5.00 / 2) (#92)
    by unitron on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 03:31:43 AM EST
    What if I'd mentioned the congresscritter who used the term the other day?

    How would I have conveyed what I was talking about?

    Called it the "W" word?

    That would have run the risk of misleading people into thinking he'd really insulted them by associating them with George W. Bush.


    Either the whole comment stays, or the whole thing gets deleted.

    Not to mention... (none / 0) (#93)
    by unitron on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 03:38:30 AM EST
    ...the exact same word used here twice and not deleted.

    Apparently some... (none / 0) (#124)
    by unitron on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 03:28:31 PM EST
    ..."W" word users are more equal than others.

    I'm (5.00 / 3) (#3)
    by lentinel on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 04:48:38 AM EST
    glad to see "illegal" dropped as a descriptive term for undocumented people in this country.

    Another word I would like to see abandoned is, "illegitimate", when speaking about children born to people who are unmarried.

    Don't often come across (none / 0) (#10)
    by P3P3P3P3 on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 09:24:54 AM EST
    the word "illegitimate" when it comes to children now-a-days, though "love child", a more modern term, does lend a bit of glamor via Hollywood

    we still get a bit from the parental side of "Out-of-Wedlock Childbearing" or "Premarital Childbearing" coming more from Government figures and related to poverty

    the Legal Profession seemed to need to extend the life of certain definitions, a friend has "spinster" on her mortgage papers, doesn't sound as bad as "chattel" though

    as we progress forward, it is more "about the content (forming) of ones character", which by use of these type of words can be detrimental

    another "word" that has sadly become stigmatized is "welfare", We The People should promote the general welfare, but accomplishing agreeable legislation is elusive


    AP advised against (none / 0) (#19)
    by SuzieTampa on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 09:50:53 AM EST
    "illegitimate child" last year.

    Jeralyn's not calling them (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Anne on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 07:42:49 AM EST
    "undocumented immigrants;" she clearly states the following (my emphasis):

    It seems to me the most inclusive descriptor for those whose presence is unauthorized is "undocumented person," because the determining factor as to whether their presence is unauthorized is the documentation required for their individual circumstances. They may or may not be "aliens" or immigrants.

    Makes sense to me.

    No person is illegal, (none / 0) (#17)
    by NYLeft on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 09:48:52 AM EST
    but for the most part no one is actually undocumented either. They can have birth certificates or driver's licenses from another country. They can have fraudulent paperwork, which many do in order to work or drive cars here. So they're not "undocumented persons," they just don't have immigration or residence paperwork that confirms that they are legal residents of this country. But it feels better to say "undocumented" because it minimizes their actions. "Undocumented" implies an administrative error or a paperwork mistake, while "illegal" specifically refers to an alien's legal status. No PERSON is illegal, but the adjective "illegal" distinguishes an alien who does not abide by the rules from those who come here legally. The majority of this category of people in our country made specific decisions to commit a crime. For the 40% who are "out of status" or "unauthorized," undocumented doesn't describe their status, it minimizes their intent. (Unless you want to suggest that undocumenteds "forget" to update their paperwork for 15-20 years.)

    I have relatives who are legal immigrants (none / 0) (#108)
    by Luis Ruiz on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 11:52:24 AM EST
    and some who are not. They are not undocumented. They have documents. Expired visas are documentad but not renewed through the agreement. My sister's boyfriend never got a visa, just came and moved in. I want him to go back and get a visa, but he really doesn't have to. We live in a state that does not go to the US government on this issue.

    How will the government deal with this problem if they can not use words to describe what people do? It is a problem that some people follow rules and some do not.


    I am involved with some coummunity (5.00 / 1) (#111)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 12:23:28 PM EST
    volunteer stuff that requires me to review the birth certificates of up to several thousand local youths every year.

    It never fails to amaze me how many of our parents don't have BC's for their children, but instead try to rely on handwritten letters from, purportedly, midwives, etc.

    These youths are undocumented despite being citizens born in the USA.


    also clearly citizens.

    That's true (none / 0) (#115)
    by sj on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 01:25:11 PM EST
    These youths are undocumented despite being citizens born in the USA.
    A friend of mine does a similar thing.  He was telling me about one young man that had him at his wits end.  This poor boy had absolutely no paperwork, no parents (although he lived with relatives of some sort), didn't know where he was born, and wasn't even sure of his birthday.  And this was a teenager.  

    I mean, my grandmother was the product of a home birth and had no paperwork, and but that was at the turn of the century (more or less).  It's just a good thing that it was easier to get a driver's license back when she learned to drive.  She just filled out the form with DOB, took her test, paid her money and that was that.  Once she had that, it was easier to get a SS card and then SS itself once the time came.

    Now the obsession with "papers" can put some people in a total Catch-22.


    Yeah, you ain't kidding (5.00 / 1) (#126)
    by NYShooter on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 05:36:26 PM EST
    "Now the obsession with "papers" can put some people in a total Catch-22."

    Some years ago, I lucked out in a raffle and won a fantastic Caribbean Cruise on (at that time) the biggest, newest Cruise Liner in the world. So, during my discussions with the cruise operators they told me I would need a passport. And, that was the beginning of the biggest rig-a-ma-role you could imagine. All the "papers" I owned weren't enough proof that I was a citizen. Being a naturalized citizen and having my naturalization papers, including a newspaper account, wasn't enough. My military documents, nada. School records.....nothing was acceptable. Finally, after pouring through a two foot high stack of my "papers," the folks in Manhattan, at whatever agency I had to go to, said that I had to go through an interview/interrogation with a Naturalization expert before I'd be granted my "Proof of Citizenship" document. This person was supposedly a human polygraph, and would make the final determination.

    Bottom line, I got my Citizenship "Papers," but, of course, I missed my cruise. Funny, the IRS never asked for my "papers" before cashing my tax checks.  



    You are using (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by sj on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 09:23:52 AM EST
    the example of one person to smear a whole lot of other people.

    that comment was deleted for (none / 0) (#51)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 02:35:32 PM EST
    spreading myths.

    Thank You... (5.00 / 3) (#11)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 09:27:46 AM EST
    ...that term has always hit me like foil to a filling.  I absolutely hate it and the people who try and defend the obviously derogatory term mean for one race of people.

    No one calls criminals 'illegal citizens', it's beyond ridiculous and so is defending a phrase that is race specific.

    Notice who has qualms with not using it, 'nough said.

    What part of 'Boy'... (5.00 / 3) (#30)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 12:03:15 PM EST
    ...is race specific, but people with a lick of sense know it's not something you call a black man because it is... racist.

    We call murders, murders, WTF ??  That kind of proves my point, we don't call them 'illegal' anything.

    Stop already, when the term is used we all know what group of people are being described.  See my Google search, not sure why this is so confusing and why anyone in their right mind would want to insist on calling people something many others find offensive.  Why not 'border jumpers' or wetbacks ?  FYI, Operation Wetback was a real thing.

    None of those terms, when broken down, are racist, but like the one here, we all know they are.  I am positive if you had a boy, you called him boy form time to time, doesn't mean it's not racist in some contexts.  So while on the rare occasion you might think about calling a white person, and II, in the real world 99% of it's use is meant to describe Mexicans, and it's used in a derogatory way.


    Ya Got Me... (none / 0) (#67)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 03:38:39 PM EST
    ...not calling undocumented folks illegal certainly does proves that I am racist.  Not using what Mexicans consider highly offensive nomenclature surely proves just how racist I am, or are the people you are offending irrelevant ?

    It isn't just a matter of whether something (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by Anne on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 09:35:34 AM EST
    is offensive, it's a matter of whether it's accurate; apparently, you failed to actually read Jeralyn's post, in which she discussed what is and isn't a crime, and why it's inaccurate - i.e. wrong - to use "illegal" to apply in all cases.

    What is unquestionably offensive is your use of the phrase "one of your undocumented people."  "My" undocumented people?  Really?  What makes them mine, exactly?  That I'm making an effort to understand and appreciate the finer points of our immigration situation?  Points you not only don't want to concede or accept, but which you categorically dismiss with statistics.

    I'm sorry you got rear-ended by someone with false documents against whom your insurance company had no recourse; you think that happens only with those who are not properly authorized to be here?  Who eats the cost of uninsured, but bona fide, Americans, huh?  

    The rest of your comment - the parts about taking away jobs and not paying taxes - seems straight out of some right-wing talking point hot line, and I probably should have stopped reading there.

    Mr. Angel was hit from behind and we had to pay (5.00 / 3) (#25)
    by Angel on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 11:24:32 AM EST
    the insurance deductible, couldn't get reimbursed because the other driver didn't have insurance.  This was before our state had mandatory auto insurance laws.  Oh, by the way, the person driving the vehicle that his Mr. Angel's vehicle was a born and raised, white male...(get ready)... bona fide American.

    Oh, please. (4.00 / 4) (#29)
    by Angel on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 12:03:06 PM EST
    Born and raised, bona fide white male American is the person who cost us our deductible. You are intentionally missing the entire point of my post. Good day.

    I suspect that, as long as you keep (4.00 / 4) (#36)
    by Anne on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 12:33:29 PM EST
    jumping to conclusions about what people do or don't believe, and using phrases like "you people" and "your undocumented people," your comments are not going to gain much traction here.  

    About the only thing missing from your screeds is that old favorite that never helps as much as those who invoke it think it will: "some of my best friends are..."


    They are still not "mine;" inserting (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by Anne on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 12:09:14 PM EST
    "so-called" doesn't eliminate the offensive part, which is the attempt to give me ownership of and make me responsible for this group of people for whom you have so much antipathy, just because Jeralyn's explanation made sense to me.

    The jobs thing is a crock; what's the difference between a non-citizen who's working here who is authorized to be here, and one who's working here who isn't authorized to be here?  Aren't they both "taking" a job away from an American?


    Jeralyn & the AP are not saying (1.00 / 4) (#15)
    by NYLeft on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 09:45:18 AM EST
    don't use the <banned description> in ALL cases. They're demanding no one use the term in ANY case, even though 60% of the people HAVE committed a crime.

    NYLeft, I expect you will now (5.00 / 2) (#41)
    by Jack E Lope on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 01:27:40 PM EST
    ...be at the forefront of the movement to get AP to stop using the PC term "suspect" for those who have been arrested or cited but not yet convicted.  After all, most of them end up being found guilty of something, so calling all of them "criminals" would fit your logic.

    Or are you going to want some mustard with your pretzel?


    Please don't put words in (1.00 / 1) (#80)
    by NYLeft on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 05:28:04 PM EST
    my mouth or make up things I might do just because you disagree with me. I'm a good Democrat and I wholeheartedly support legal immigration. I just don't think people who break the law or ignore the rules should have an advantage over others who are willing to obey the law. I care as much about starving kids in Mexico City as I do about a child of someone who illegally entered this country. I don't want public policy to prioritize lawbreakers because it's too easy to ignore people in other countries who need our help but are not getting our attention.

    I see what many posters do here. If they disagree with someone, they troll rate them just because they hold an opposing opinion, and they try to get them banned as SJ is attempting below. Is that really what you want? To ban everyone with different opinions, even if you share agreement on almost every topic except illegal immigration?

    I believe using inaccurate terms makes it harder to solve the problems we face. An undocumented person would describe someone born outside of a hospital and/or without a birth certificate. Many of our ancestors were undocumented people with no birth records. Individuals who come into this country in violation if immigration law are not undocumented. That is a term that makes those of us who want to help them feel better. (Personally, I also believe we should help them, but not at the expense of others waiting their turn to come here.)

    The banning of the word "alien" serves the same purpose. It muddies the water and makes it harder to identify and resolve problems. In law, an alien is a person in a country who is not a citizen of that country. It's not an insult, it's a legal category. If an alien abides by specific rules (such as getting legal permission to enter and stay within the borders of a country), they are called a legal alien of that country. This legal category includes tourists, guest workers, legal permanent residents and student visa resident aliens. These are all legal descriptions used by the US government. (The concept of aliens from outer space only came into popular use in the 1950s due to science fiction novels. It's an add-on to the already established legal term "alien.")

    So what's the purpose of not using the term alien? Because it reminds people that an individual came from somewhere else. Why should that a problem? Many of us have ancestors who came from other countries. Our rich history of immigration and diversity is what has made this country strong. So why is there a need today to hide the fact that some of the people residing here are immigrants and aliens? I think it's because the government and industry are in the process of massively increasing immigration, not in order to enrich our nation, but to undermine our strong middle class. By blurring these descriptions, it's easier for the plutocrats to affect public policy in ways that increase their wealth.

    You can spend your time trying to ban other Democrats who disagree with you, or you could try to understand where they're coming from. Hint: It isn't racism.


    Hey, we can disagree, but let's not forget reality (5.00 / 3) (#86)
    by womanwarrior on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 08:10:02 PM EST
    You know the rules that you defend are pretty much racial, don't you?  If you are white and from Europe it is lots easier to get a visa than if you are poor from Mexico.  The way the quotas are set up, Mexicans who waited their turn would wait their lifetime.  So, think about your kids starving and rules you don't know much about and you want to find work that will feed them? I bet you wouldn't wait.
    As for our ancestors, these rules weren't in place when most of them came.  So, they weren't "waiting their turn."  Let's not be holier than thou about our ancestors.
    And many of the people that come in without documentation take jobs that people already here just won't take.  
    So, let's develop a fair system, instead of labeling more people criminals.  We have enough mass incarceration that takes money away from schools and healthcare.  

    Classic liberal fallacy: (none / 0) (#89)
    by DR Sofia on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 10:38:38 PM EST
    "... the people that come.. take jobs that people already here just won't take."

    In any major city, you can see undocumenteds standing at hardware stores or on main street waiting to be picked up by unscrupulous employers who give them work because they won't complain about the lack of Unemployment Insurance, Worker's Compensation and Social Security taxes. The bosses refuse to hire American citizens because they're more likely to demand the company pay the taxes our government requires. American workers and legal residents lose out because the illegal aliens are competing by cheating. The employers rake it in while taxpayers end up paying for any on-the-job injuries that occur. Companies that are ethical and pay SS, Unemployment and Workers Comp can not compete against the dishonest employers. And the public picks up the tab for the problems created.

    These are all jobs that Americans want. Construction, home health care, food preparation and delivery. These jobs are dominated by undocumenteds. They're not farm jobs, and they're definitely not jobs Americans don't want. We have millions out of work, and many of them have blue collar skills. Undocumenteds are driving down their wages and destroying their job prospects.

    Look around you. Who do you see getting all the blue collar jobs? Who is giving you the inexpensive home remodeling quote, the employers who have American workers or the ones who hire undocumenteds?

    If you think more non-white people should be given visas, then let's change the rules and demand more Hispanics or other people of color be allowed to immigrate. Maybe a million per year from Mexico isn't enough. But allowing people to break the law isn't fair to those willing to abide by our rules.


    Just a second here (5.00 / 1) (#106)
    by sj on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 11:07:21 AM EST
    they try to get them banned as SJ is attempting below

    I was not trying to get you "banned".  I said that in my view you were "chattering" which is a specific, predefined behavior.
    TalkLeft will limit commenters to four comments a day if, in its sole discretion, the commenter is a "chatterer," loosely defined as one who both holds opposing views from those expressed by TalkLeft and :
    Posts numerous times a day with the intent of dominating, re-directing or hijacking the thread; or
    Posts numerous times a day and insults or engages in name-calling against other commenters or the site's authors or repeatedly makes the same point with the effect of annoying other commenters. (i.e. is a blog-clogger)
    I believed you met the two bolded conditions.  Jeralyn disagreed, and she gets the only say.  As she does when it comes to who is and who is not banned.

    Please return the favor. (none / 0) (#95)
    by Jack E Lope on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 08:32:08 AM EST
    Please do not put words in my mouth or attack me for things I did not say.  

    The discussion was about the term to use for some persons, not immigration policy, not banning you, not being a Democrat - I've never been one.  

    I agree that we mostly agree.

    I agree that using inaccurate terms confuses issues - but that leads me to the conclusion that "illegal" is predjudicial when applied to a person (rather than actions).  I find "undocumented" clunky and inaccurate, but I haven't found a better term to suggest.

    When you say,

    I care as much about starving kids in Mexico City as I do about a child of someone who illegally entered this country
    ...that appears open to interpretation.  I hope your concern goes beyond Mexico.

    If your original post had not broken the rules of this forum so as to be deleted, I would have been able to quote it - and produce a more-lengthy demonstration of the failure of your logic.   I chose to be brief, and let readers find the parallels for themselves.


    I was wrong (none / 0) (#96)
    by Jack E Lope on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 08:47:21 AM EST
    ...about your post having been deleted.  I could not find it initially.

    Here's a rewording to illustrate my point - I have replaced "illegal" with "criminal" and "undocumented" with "suspect", for comparison - so this is not an actual quote:

    For instance, take the description "suspect" suggested above. When someone uses "criminal" to describe someone who has been accused of commiting a crime, they're not saying the actual person is criminal, they're saying their actions are criminal. It's disingenuous to imply that others are calling a person criminal because people CAN'T be criminal. Their activities can be. The term "criminal" simply refers to their actions, not the legality of their personhood or something. Redirecting attention away from their activities and suggesting the word criminal refers to a category of humans instead of the behavior of a group of people implies those who want people to follow our laws are attacking or insulting people.

    AP will influence many media outlets (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by SuzieTampa on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 09:41:25 AM EST
    Some people may not realize that most newspapers and TV stations use the AP Stylebook as their style bible. (A notable exception is the NYT.) So, this change has far-reaching consequences, much more so than if a single entity had made the change.

    I have a bachelor of journalism degree from the University of Missouri, one of the top j-schools, and we had to memorize the AP Stylebook.

    These catch-all phrases are useful, but a good writer will try to explain the differences, as Jeralyn has done.  

    Country of origin (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by SuzieTampa on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 10:23:19 AM EST
    In 2008, 61% of undocumented people were Mexican citizens and 14% were citizens of Central or South American countries. ("Came from" doesn't properly describe the situation of the latter group because many of them entered Mexico illegally before they entered the U.S. illegally. Of course, this doesn't apply to those who entered the U.S. legally but overstayed visas, etc. They most likely came directly from their home countries.)

    What about Africans who came here illegally or who came here legally but no longer have the documents to stay? They aren't named on the pie chart; they must be included in the slim slice for others. (I can't link to the chart because it uses various terms, including the banned one.)

    One problem I have with immigration reform is that it privileges those who can get here more easily. And, yes, I know that walking through the desert or a sewer system, or sweltering in an overcrowded van, is not easy. But it's easier than swimming the Atlantic. I hope immigration reformers remember that others also want to come here and improve their lives.

    Read Jeralyn's first link (5.00 / 2) (#65)
    by SuzieTampa on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 03:26:32 PM EST
    ABC explains that this is part of AP's attempts to get away from labeling people. For example, they suggest "person with schizophrenia" as opposed to "schizophrenic."  Similarly, we've seen people with disabilities prefer that phrase over "the disabled" and African Americans have long found offense at "colored person" but many like "people of color."

    So, AP isn't recommending another label over the banned one. (I'm sure some headline writers are weeping, however.)

    The changes aren't politically correct as much as they are economically correct. In general, the mainstream media doesn't want to offend large swaths of potential readers, and that includes Spanish-speakers who can't understand English. Many like ABC + Univision have media in Spanish, with stories and entertainment sold in Latin America.          

    Continuing that thought...................... (5.00 / 1) (#70)
    by NYShooter on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 03:53:58 PM EST
    Whenever there's a horrific crime, like mass shootings, some people, and/or organizations use the term "mentally deranged killer." And, it doesn't even have to be used in a way that's meant to be offensive: "We want to do background checks to keep guns out of the hands of `mentally deranged killers." But, the organization that acts as a watchdog for inappropriate characterizations (sorry, forgot their name) says that's wrong. It's wrong as a stereotype, and it's wrong factually.

    Yes, there are people who are mentally deranged. However, statistically, and as a class, they are far less likely to be killers than, let's say, angry, uneducated, poor white males.

    So, the next time there's a horrible, violent crime in your neighborhood. "mentally deranged" people belong way down on the list of possible suspects.


    Not sure what you mean (none / 0) (#79)
    by SuzieTampa on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 05:26:39 PM EST
    I can't tell if you're joking about an organization that looks out for inappropriate characterizations. If you mean AP, that's an inappropriate characterization. All mainstream media have style guides, just like there are professional style guides for different professions, such as psychology and the Modern Language Association. They govern accuracy as well as minutiae, such as whether you put the period inside or outside the quotation marks or whether you abbreviate the names of months or not.

    AP stands for Associated Press, i.e., an association of media outlets.  It's convenient to have everyone following the same guidelines so that copy editors don't have to change the style of every story that comes across the AP wire.


    I'm (none / 0) (#84)
    by NYShooter on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 06:15:42 PM EST
    "Not sure what you mean" either.

    I have no beef with AP.

    I was simply saying that some people use terms that are inappropriate, and inaccurate, without even knowing it. Linking "mentally deranged" with "killer" is one of those items.

    Sorry I confused you.


    Those here without documentation (5.00 / 2) (#72)
    by MKS on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 04:02:01 PM EST
    do pay a lot of taxes.  Sales taxes.  Property taxes.  And oftentimes income taxes.

    I just saw a Fox News segment where an expert bemoaned the low birth rate here.  He said immigration had been saving the day....I think Fox liked him because he was somehow linked to the every sperm is sacred crowd.

    Undocumented Latino immigrants contribute economically to the U.S.  As to crime, the safest cities are cities where Latinos are in high proportion.  Look up the murder rate in El Paso.

    This zero sum envy/resentment of immigrants is based on a lot of false assumptions and feeds off  of fear.

    I wasn't aware that (5.00 / 2) (#73)
    by sj on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 04:11:22 PM EST
    there was a politically correct term for a$$hole.  And I'm pretty sure that most people would be offended to be called such.

    Some people appear to be going off the rails.  

    that comment was deleted (none / 0) (#83)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 06:10:18 PM EST
    esteele has been banned and zapped (5.00 / 2) (#85)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 06:27:28 PM EST
    at first I just deleted the comments in this thread that had misinformation. Then I saw that he/she called commenters here specific names that are completely unacceptable and used profanity. I have zapped esteele's account and all comments associated with it. There were approximately 100.

    You may not call people libelous names on this site or use profanity.

    All points of view are accepted here in moderation. But people who can't express themselves civilly and resort to name-calling, chattering, blog-clogging and spreading misinformation that will be associated with this site through search engines will be banned, and in some cases, zapped.

    Commenting is not a right. It's an option I grant to readers on specific terms stated in the comment rules. Those who abuse it will not be allowed to remain here.

    Also, I recommend commenters who write a long comment that may be objectionable here save their work on their computer so if it's deleted, they have a copy.

    I Get Why You Did It... (5.00 / 1) (#101)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 10:10:41 AM EST
    ...but the fact that the person clinging to the idea that 'illegal' wasn't a disparaging phrase, while disparaging just about every commenter who disagreed with him/her, was priceless.

    not to mention (3.00 / 2) (#6)
    by nyjets on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 07:19:15 AM EST
      'In other words less than 40%, or a distinct minority entered the country lawfully. '
    Those 40 percent are still in this country illegally. They broke the law. WHether or not that is a crime is not point.

    Isn't the point to draw attention (2.00 / 4) (#16)
    by NYLeft on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 09:47:23 AM EST
    away from their actions and use a description that distracts from an individual's decisions and activities in order to minimize recognition of their actions?

    For instance, take the description "undocumented person" suggested above. When someone uses the <banned term> to describe someone who entered the country illegally, they're not saying the actual person is illegal, they're saying their actions are illegal. It's disingenuous to imply that others are calling a person illegal because people CAN'T be illegal. Their activities can be. The term "illegal" simply refers to their actions, not the legality of their personhood or something. Redirecting attention away from their activities and suggesting the word illegal refers to a category of humans instead of the behavior of a group of people implies those who want immigrants to follow our laws are attacking or insulting people.

    Just blink twice if you want us to (5.00 / 3) (#22)
    by Anne on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 10:00:33 AM EST
    sprinkle a little salt on the pretzel you're twisting yourself into, okay?

    Oh, come on. (1.00 / 3) (#20)
    by NYLeft on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 09:53:54 AM EST
    You can't be seriously claiming that people who believe our immigration laws should be upheld or modified are racists. It's not about skin color, it's about public policies that give some people dishonest advantages over other potential immigrants.

    And please see my other post about why "undocumented" is not a fair or reasonable description.

    You Know Damn Well... (5.00 / 3) (#45)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 01:55:11 PM EST
    ...I am not debating policy, just one derogatory phrase.

    Thank You (none / 0) (#1)
    by P3P3P3P3 on Tue Apr 02, 2013 at 11:35:57 PM EST
    excellent article, covered it rather well, this terminology brings the United States into compliance with the Law (Treaty obligation)

    the Universal Declaration of Human Rights , is a Treaty, "all treaties.....shall be the supreme Law of the Land" Article V

    everyone has "Human Rights", and the Treaty/Law lays out how we are to treat others (do unto others as you would have done unto you) basic civil decency, for Immigration see Article 6,13,23,25,26, for Gay marriage see article 16

    there is an appropriate complaint against George W Bush over torture that he violated the "Law" and that Law is Article 5 "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment." he should be advised not to travel abroad or he may find out what "illegal immigrant" really means

    Thank you for the education on this (none / 0) (#28)
    by republicratitarian on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 11:50:24 AM EST

    Jay Leno: (none / 0) (#32)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 12:18:00 PM EST
    "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.'"

    And That is Why... (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 12:21:34 PM EST
    ...Mitt Romney isn't POTUS.

    And maybe why (5.00 / 2) (#35)
    by sj on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 12:26:41 PM EST
    Fantastic Burn (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 01:46:23 PM EST
    "undocumented person" there are those who still would complain bitterly that we are being racist because we really mean "brown people" when we say it.

    I don't think you need to be concerned about that (5.00 / 4) (#37)
    by Angel on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 12:35:57 PM EST
    because some will never stop using the derogatory term, or worse.

    to take offense, and for them any/all terms can/will ultimately be deemed derogatory...

    And even more have the inability to treat (5.00 / 4) (#39)
    by Angel on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 12:50:21 PM EST
    people with dignity and respect, yet they also seem to have an infinite capacity for using hateful and inaccurate language and cannot see each person as an individual separate from their race or nationality or religion.

    True that... (none / 0) (#40)
    by kdog on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 12:57:06 PM EST
    someone will find AP's new term offensive at some point, and the term that poltical correctness demand we replace the new term with...rinse and repeat.

    Speaking for me the terms ain't our problem, it's our immigration law and immigration law the world over that is the problem.  

    That being said, I agree 100% that no human being is illegal.  Open borders, free movement of free people...it's what nature intended.


    Yup, rinse and repeat. (none / 0) (#42)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 01:39:05 PM EST
    Did the AP actually identify a new term? I didn't see one if they did...

    I think the AP PC Police Div.... (none / 0) (#48)
    by kdog on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 02:26:07 PM EST
    decided on calling the paperless "living in or entering a country without legal permission" as an acceptable variation.

    I find this whole concept of legal permission being required highly offensive.


    If immigration status is the issue (none / 0) (#44)
    by Anne on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 01:49:17 PM EST
    in question, perhaps the label "person of unauthorized or undetermined status" would solve the problem there seems to be with the use of "undocumented."

    Sometimes, there really isn't a good way to reduce the complex to the simple without losing important aspects of whatever it is one is attempting to describe.

    How about "unauthorized migrant?" (none / 0) (#46)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 01:55:41 PM EST
    Citizenly Impaired Other White People ? (5.00 / 3) (#47)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 02:25:24 PM EST
    Talk about being ridiculous, when a term is deemed wrong and offensive why does the right fight tooth and nail to hold on to it ?

    One would think being offensive would be all one would need to stop others from calling using it, especially the party of Jesus, but the right needs a fricken doctoral thesis to even consider it.  But tell the same folks a black politician is Muslim and they will believe that for 5 generations.  No proof necessary.

    Odd coincidence... and the fact that the people fighting this are the ones that lost an election because of the Hispanic vote is pretty damn sad.  Guess all the Hispanic outreach blather has worn thin, those spots don't rub off, they will call people whatever the F they want, to hell with it.


    Hysteria about "pc speech" (5.00 / 2) (#50)
    by jondee on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 02:34:36 PM EST
    is one of the few not-completely-discredited bricks they have left in their back-to-the-19th-century platform..

    When I Hear... (5.00 / 2) (#56)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 03:00:26 PM EST
    ...(and often put in air quotes) "politically correct" here in Texas, I know something offensive as hell is right behind it, with a real good chance of it being racist.

    I remember when the good old days when PC mean calling a janitor and custodial engineer, not using it as cover for offensive BS.


    You got that right. (5.00 / 4) (#63)
    by Dr Molly on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 03:24:19 PM EST
    When I Hear... (none / 0) (#56)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 03:00:26 PM EST
    ...(and often put in air quotes) "politically correct" here in Texas, I know something offensive as hell is right behind it, with a real good chance of it being racist.

    Which is why I always say I unapologetically and enthusiastically support political correctness.  The PC term is just an excuse that hateful @ssholes like Limbaugh have perpetuated so that they can continue being offensive @ssholes.

    I've never understood the resistance to being respectful and the derogatory "PC" reaction. To me, it is not up to the privileged to decide what is or is not offensive to others; it is up to them, and we should respect it. One example here in DC is the Washington Redskins - why should we white people have a say in this? If the term redskins is offensive to Native Americans, then that's the end of the story to me. Get rid of it.  As a white person, I don't get to say whether it is or isn't offensive to them. I also don't get to say what's offensive to blacks, Latinos, or Asians. And men don't get to decide what is or isn't offensive to women. Etc.

    I looooove political correctness.  It's called respect for others in my book.


    Up to a point... (none / 0) (#49)
    by kdog on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 02:33:06 PM EST
    yeah, people finding a term offensive should be enough for decent people to stop using it an offensive way...as long as we account for context, intent, and meaning.  

    Not to mention all the people who wake up everyday in search of offense to be taken...there is no pleasing the perpetually offended.


    is a reward for it. I read that somewhere...

    Unfortunately... (none / 0) (#54)
    by kdog on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 02:47:54 PM EST
    there usually is...squeaky wheel gets the grease.

    Don't Think any Immigrant Class... (none / 0) (#55)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 02:51:59 PM EST
    ...legal or not fall could ever be classified in 'perpetually offended'.

    Cranky Crackers... (none / 0) (#57)
    by kdog on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 03:03:11 PM EST
    and guilt-ridden liberal elitists probably are the majority of the perpetually offended brigade, I hear that.

    Immigrants are too busy working to worry about sh*t like this...file it under a "good problem to have" ;)


    Well there's an important point (5.00 / 2) (#59)
    by jondee on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 03:15:37 PM EST
    to consider about who controls the public rhetoric
    and why, and what the (unspoken) agendas are..

    Witness all the debates we've had here about the use of terms like "entitlements", and manipulative phrases like "Support the Troops" and "anti-2nd Amendment"..



    ...and "pro choice" and (none / 0) (#62)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 03:22:10 PM EST
    "assault weapon" and...

    assault weapon and anti-2nd (none / 0) (#66)
    by jondee on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 03:30:01 PM EST
    so, you agree that one's as accurate as the other?

    Newspeak baby... (none / 0) (#64)
    by kdog on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 03:24:34 PM EST
    make sure your edition of the newspeak dictionary is up to date brother jondee!  

    Dam gringos. (none / 0) (#58)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 03:07:28 PM EST
    Call me what you will... (none / 0) (#61)
    by kdog on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 03:21:56 PM EST
    just hold the handcuffs and we'll get along fine...that's my motto.

    On the other hand (none / 0) (#87)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 10:16:20 PM EST
    And only one for birthday presents, you know. There's glory for you!'

    `I don't know what you mean by "glory,"' Alice said.

    Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. `Of course you don't -- till I tell you. I meant "there's a nice knock-down argument for you!"'

    `But "glory" doesn't mean "a nice knock-down argument,"' Alice objected.

    `When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less.'

    `The question is,' said Alice, `whether you can make words mean so many different things.'

    `The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, `which is to be master - - that's all.'

    "Through the Looking Glass," Lewis Carroll

    Okay, fine by me if the GOP (5.00 / 1) (#88)
    by MKS on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 10:36:59 PM EST
    continues to oppose immigration reform and citizenship for millions already here.

    The GOP can continue to call Latinos all kinds of slurs a' la Alaska....

    Just knock yourselves out....Please don't throw us in the briar patch....


    You talking to me??? (none / 0) (#98)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 09:23:30 AM EST
    As someone who has supported:

    1. Closing the border tighter than Dick's hat band..

    2. Giving green cards to all "definition unknown" who are now here.

    3. Putting people who employ "definition unknown" in jail.

    I find your comments laughable.

    The point is that for AP to do so is to try and change the culture and the law.

    I just wanna make sure we all know that.


    Culture has already changed (5.00 / 4) (#102)
    by MKS on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 10:29:52 AM EST
    GOP wants to change it back.  Good luck with that.

    Yep.. (5.00 / 3) (#125)
    by jondee on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 04:39:45 PM EST
    "Change the culture". A telling choice of words.

    With no chance of going back to the 1950s (or is it 1850s?) America that some folks never stop yearning for.



    As a legal immigrant (none / 0) (#90)
    by DR Sofia on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 10:54:21 PM EST
    I believe coddling undocumenteds is no favor to those of us who followed the rules and waited our turn to come to this country.

    Forecing people to use a different word that does not refer to someone's actions but instead implies they didn't do their paperwork will not change reality. It will simply serve to fool some of the people.

    This name change might please many Hispanics who think our people will benefit, but the fact is that Democrats, Republicans and big business are all agreeing to subvert America's middle class by bringing in many more low wage immigrants as well as technical workers. This will destabilize the middle class and bring wages down. I am part of that middle class now, and I can see the purpose of flooding the market with millions more immigrants is to destroy what the people have created here. It has to do with undermining the workers so the rich can get richer. Didn't we learn anything from Cesar Chevez? This new immigration reform will be the downfall of this country. Can't you see that?

    Where I came from, the very rich abuse the poor because most people have no power and no say in government. We don't have a strong middle class to stand up for workplace safety and a living wage. This country has a rich history of workers fighting back, demanding fairness and improving the lives of all other Americans. People here believe the poor should get help making their lives better and the working people should thrive, not be oppressed by the rich. Instead of sharing those values, you're allowing the US government and companies to import the economic structures of poor countries where the very rich can easily abuse the rest of us. Don't let them destroy the middle class here or our children will live in conditions my own family escaped.

    The sad thing is that the very people (none / 0) (#99)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 09:36:14 AM EST
    who supposedly are for increased wages and better/safer working conditions can't seem to grasp that labor, weather stoop or hi tech, is a commodity. The more the employer has at h/her disposal the lower the pay and the worse the working conditions.

    My parents were share croppers. There were many other share croppers both white and black. As workers left the south at the end of the 40's the large land owners were forced to treat people better and invest in machinery. This in turn reduced the need for people. This in turn allowed one family farms to be effective due to the machinery. This in turn made breaking the larger farms up and selling them logical.

    Mexico and the countries to the south have problems. We should not be an escape valve to allow their rich to continue in their current ways by taking their excess population.



    AP Stylebook (none / 0) (#91)
    by Canvasback on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 11:34:49 PM EST
    Is this supposed to make them feel better about their gardener? Trust me, he knows he's here illegally. This is like the NPR argument that we should give up our sovereignty for the sake of cheap vegetables. Let the unwashed hordes set immigration policy. After all, it's work "white" people won't do. One problem is, How Ya Gonna Keep 'Em Down On the Farm After They've Seen Perris (CA)? I work construction in California and the Mexicans/Salvadorans/Guatemalans have the painting, drywall, roofing, landscaping, and half the concrete and framing. That's work this American wishes he could get. But they'll hire their cousin, brother, friend or countryman before they'd hire me.
    The stylebook is just that, a style. So are disco pants.

    Words have power, and words in the (5.00 / 2) (#94)
    by Anne on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 06:55:35 AM EST
    hands of the media have the power to shape people's ideas and opinions by the message those words convey.  So, it isn't about getting people to feel better about anyone's gardener, it's about putting focus on immigration policy, where it belongs.  

    It's hard for me to blame anyone who wants to work, or blame anyone who wants to come here for the opportunity to work for a better life.  But let's be honest, shall we?  The blame for the current situation doesn't belong on the people who want to work - American or not - it belongs on the employers who exploit them.  They exploit them here, and they exploit them overseas, and they do it for one reason, and one reason only: money.

    So, sure - there are jobs for the millions of Americans who want one and don't have one, but we need employers willing to part with some of the obscene profits many of them are piling up, hire them and pay them a living wage, and pay into unemployment and Social Security and Medicare on their behalf.

    I'd be willing to bet that with unemployment still being so high, employers aren't just taking advantage of the person of unauthorized status, they're paying honest-to-God Americans cash under the table, too, because between the low "legitimate" wages no one can actually live on, and unemployment benefits or food programs that don't stretch to cover an entire month, a lot of people are just trying to do what they can to get by without losing the few benefits they have.  So it isn't just the Mexican or the Dominican who's willing to work for cash, it's the American who's not been officially on anyone's payroll for 2 years because the plant closed and the jobs went to Indonesia.

    We don't just have an immigration problem - it's so much bigger than that, and no one's really talking about it.  All they want to tell you is that the Dow is at record highs, corporate profits are booming and the economy's coming back.  Well, it's coming back for people who were already raking it in, but it's not doing much for the millions who still don't have a job, is it?


    Anne, what the AP style book change (none / 0) (#100)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 09:44:14 AM EST
    does is tell people what we DON'T have a problem.

    You've got it backwards.

    And I agree that we have a jobs export problem...

    But I also believe that you solve problems by breaking them down into solvable parts rather than waiting for someone to "drain the swamp."


    Jim, I'd give citizenship (5.00 / 4) (#104)
    by MKS on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 10:33:33 AM EST
    within 2 years to all who have been here for at least 5 years.

    Let the Republicans block that.


    The real issue for a lot of people (none / 0) (#127)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 07:42:23 PM EST
    is all they see is green cards issued to those who are here and no closing the borders to shut down the influx.

    That's the issue which will keep anything from happening.


    Too bad if true (5.00 / 1) (#128)
    by MKS on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 12:25:59 AM EST
    If the Rebublicans block immigration reform again, they will again reap the whirlwind....

    And the GOP deserves it.    I frankly enjoy watching the GOP twist in the wind on this.   The smarter ones are tyring to fix in part the problem but they struggle against the bigotted base.....

    The Republicans are reaping their comeuppance after so many years of being race-baiting bigots.....I love it!

    The downside is that we may have to wait until 2016 before we get immigration reform.


    If you don't close the borders (1.00 / 2) (#129)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 09:27:38 AM EST
    you have reformed nothing.

    And actually if you just closed the borders and did nothing else the problem would solve itself in a few years.


    Maybe from your perspective (5.00 / 1) (#131)
    by MKS on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 11:06:51 AM EST
    Most think the 12 million undocumented should be given a path to citizenship.

    "The influx" consists (5.00 / 2) (#132)
    by MKS on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 11:10:36 AM EST
    of people whom the GOP fears or despises....It is a "cultural" issue for them.

    Words have power to tell the truth (none / 0) (#121)
    by Western Dem on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 02:34:54 PM EST
    "... there are jobs for the millions of Americans who want one and don't have one, but we need employers willing to part with some of the obscene profits many of them are piling up, hire them and pay them a living wage, and pay into unemployment and Social Security and Medicare on their behalf.

    Exactly. Everyone in the construction field knows that undocumenteds have destroyed the field for American workers. As a contractor, I can't compete with other contractors that hire undocumenteds. I pay Worker's Comp, Unemployment and Social Security taxes for every one of my employees. But I get outbid by those who know they can get away with not paying taxes by hiring undocumenteds who won't complain. When one of them gets hurt on the job, they just take them to the emergency room and say they don't have any ID. They get fixed up free thanks to those of you willing to pay higher insurance premiums and higher taxes (the federal government foots the bill when the undocumented person and his boss scam the hospital).

    Liberal professionals get their home remodeled cheaper by these unscrupulous contractors, and they close their eyes to the damage they're inflicting on their fellow Americans who try to do right by our employees and our communities.

    Just remember, you may be helping the undocumenteds by selecting the contractor who hires them, but mostly you're just making the boss richer.

    "... it's not doing much for the millions who still don't have a job, is it?"

    Anne, if you care about those of us without jobs, why support the media whitewash of this problem? Change the name, dilute the discussion, and hide the problem for a few more years. Meanwhile, they'll bring in millions more immigrants by offering the chance to "earn" citizenship by taking American jobs, only this time it'll be high tech jobs decimated, not just blue collar careers like mine.


    There's very little I support the media on (5.00 / 2) (#123)
    by Anne on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 03:04:39 PM EST
    anymore, just so you know...

    I don't see the decision to stop using "illegal immigrant" as a media whitewash of the problem, I see it as not allowing the immigrants to be demonized to where they get all the blame for the problem.

    Like I said, I can't blame someone for wanting to work - wanting to work is a good thing.  I blame employers who hire them on the cheap and exploit them, most of all.  Honestly, if home improvements could be off-shored, some employer would have done it - instead, they treat their living-in-America workers as if they should be happy to be working for Indonesian wages.  I blame consumers who want something for practically nothing - want clean houses and manicured lawns and fresh produce for next to nothing, and don't care that someone - whatever their resident status - worked a 100 hour week in inhumane and unsafe conditions so they could sit on their decks eating fresh strawberries while admiring their freshly-cut lawn.

    We've been trying to grow more of the fruits and veggies we eat, but do I buy cheap produce?  Of course I do - because I have to live on the same wage system that wants to keep all the cream for those at the top.

    It's a complex problem, with no simple solutions, but I don't have any problem with allowing someone who wants to work hard and get ahead the dignity of being called something other than an illegal alien or an illegal immigrant.


    Anne, when you agree with AP (1.00 / 1) (#130)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 09:33:55 AM EST
    you are agreeing with changing the word and hiding the problem. It's like calling lung cancer a lung sore. That's what it is but it will also kill you.

    And the issue isn't complex. Just close the borders.


    Changing the terminology only hides (5.00 / 3) (#133)
    by Anne on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 12:18:29 PM EST
    "the problem" if you think the entirety of the problem rests with the immigrant - and it seems you do; I've already clearly stated that I don't think all the blame for the problem should be on the immigrant.

    I think it might have been Will Rogers who once said something along the lines of, "there's a simple solution to every problem...and it's usually wrong."


    We have always had immigrants in the (5.00 / 1) (#105)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 10:45:33 AM EST
    Construction trades, always always always.  It is about hard work, and some people are more willing to do that and do it well.  It has been my experience growing up inside the construction trades that skill and dedication trumps everything.  The more skilled and dedicated you are, the better your reputation becomes, and the more you can charge for your labor too.

    If someone is hiring people of their choosing...gee, they sound like a business owner or someone who has earned a position that places them in the position to hire but to also be responsible for work and deadlines.  Not making deadlines in the construction business can lead to large financial penalties too depending who you are doing work for. I'm sorry you have not been able to get the job you want yet, if you are entry level you do understand that the wages are entry level too?


    Hod Carrier (5.00 / 1) (#134)
    by MKS on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 03:36:11 PM EST
    Construction trades.....tough, hard work.....

    Was my motivation to go to college.


    My mother's father was a mason (5.00 / 1) (#135)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 07:43:06 AM EST
    Her brother and my father were his hod carriers in high school.  My father said it was the most taxing work he'd ever done and his parents ranched until he was in high school so he had been exposed to some work.  My father ended his career as a union master carpenter.  They really don't make those anymore.  I will always remember that my mason grandfather had enormous hands, they were always very dried out but they were huge like bear paws.

    Does that mean (none / 0) (#136)
    by MKS on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 09:40:22 AM EST
    your dad met your mom through his hod carrier buddy at work?

    They grew up in the same neighborhood (none / 0) (#137)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 06:56:02 AM EST
    I think my father was born to build.  No matter where he was born, he was going to build.  My Uncle ended up volunteering for Vietnam, and after went to college and worked for the BLM and Department of Energy until he retired.  Then he started a painting company.  But family building projects always had lots of free knowledgable labor.

    Perris? (none / 0) (#103)
    by MKS on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 10:32:12 AM EST
    I'd prefer almost anywhere in Mexico.

    Maybe . . . . (none / 0) (#97)
    by Mr Mark Martinson on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 09:07:03 AM EST
    it's not a crime to overstay one's visa or whatever, but it is a violation of the law.  Hence the term "illegal alien" much better describes such a person than "undocumented alien."  

    To say someone is undocumented implies that he hasn't receive his documents or that he could have the proper documents permitting him to stay if he just found the time to apply for them.

    Oh, for heaven's sake...the meaning of (5.00 / 1) (#107)
    by Anne on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 11:45:01 AM EST
    "undocumented" in the context of immigration status is not nearly as complex as you want to make it; "undocumented" means that whatever the person does or does not have fails to authorize him or her to legally reside in this country.

    There is absolutely no implied meaning as to whether he or she has simply not received the proper documents, or has put off applying for them.

    But, that you think the term "illegal alien" is a fine and dandy label does speak volumes about why you are choosing to infer meaning that isn't there in the label "undocumented."

    You simply do not seem to grasp that people themselves are not illegal - what they do can be illegal, but it is not illegal to be a person, and that is why the AP, among others, is moving away from that designation.

    Finally, "alien?"  Really?  As in what - non-human?  Visitor from another planet?  I thought "alien" was a word that went the way of "colored people," but I guess it hasn't died after all.


    Mabye (none / 0) (#109)
    by Luis Ruiz on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 11:54:53 AM EST
    alien entered illegally would work. Undocumented does not describe the problem.

    why not just say unauthorized resident?

    I don't know - ask the AP, or Jeralyn; (5.00 / 2) (#114)
    by Anne on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 12:49:04 PM EST
    I think this whole conversation is getting to the how-many-angels-can-dance-on-the-head-of-a-pin stage, and that's usually where I exit.

    It's one thing to debate what we're going to call the materials that represent valid authority for non-Americans to reside in this country, but I had hoped we had moved past the stage where we thought calling someone an "alien" was appropriate.

    Apparently not.


    Ask the AP? "Undocumented" was theirs? (5.00 / 2) (#116)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 01:44:44 PM EST
    I'm confused. You seemed pretty invested in supporting the choice of the word "undocumented," and my question was to you, the person who made that investment.

    Was all that just for the sake of argument?

    I have no quarrels with your views on the word "alien" and I'm not sure why you even bring it up in response to my comment as I didn't use the word. You'll notice the phrase I asked you about was "unauthorized resident," not "unauthorized alien."

    btw, the answer to your question is eleventy five.


    As Jeralyn explained it, I have no (5.00 / 2) (#118)
    by Anne on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 02:04:19 PM EST
    problem with use of the term "undocumented;" the AP is apparently not satisfied that that is the right way to go when describing a non-American who is doesn't meet the government's test for authorized residence, so it is not blessing the use of that term.

    There seem to have been more than a few people who chose not to address Jeralyn's explanation or definition, and instead decided to load that term with all kinds of meaning - possibly in an effort to want to get back to that whole "illegal" thing, I don't know.

    I think people will use whatever term works for them, for however they perceive the problem or the issue, AP Stylebook notwithstanding.

    "Unauthorized resident" is not a bad way to go if one thinks "undocumented" carries with it too much ambiguity or not enough blame; based on the response to "undocumented," I might use "unauthorized resident," myself.  Unless Jeralyn doesn't allow it, of course.

    For what it's worth, I brought up "alien" not because you used it - you didn't - but to express my frustration with both the increasing weediness of the conversation, and the reluctance some people - not you - have to let go of some of the more demeaning and pejorative terms for describing people.

    And, just so you know, the answer I was looking for was a hundredy fourteen.


    Can we compromise at a hundredy eleventy? (5.00 / 2) (#119)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 02:16:03 PM EST

    For you? Of course... (5.00 / 1) (#120)
    by Anne on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 02:32:39 PM EST
    I mean, given some of the exchanges some of these topics have generated, I'm happy (relieved?) to be able to meet a reasonable person somewhere in the middle.



    That's got my vote (none / 0) (#122)
    by Lora on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 02:37:45 PM EST
    "Unauthorized" sounds good to me.  Or just "unauthorized immigrant."  Less confusing.  Someone who immigrated without proper authorization.