NAHJ NV APPLAUDS AP DECISION TO STOP USING THE TERM “ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT”
LAS VEGAS _ NAHJ Nevada applauds the AP’s decision Tuesday to discontinue use of the term “illegal immigrant” and recommend using the adjective “illegal” only in reference to actions, not to people.
“We’re thrilled to hear about the AP’s new policy, which we believe will lead to more humane and constructive discussion on the issue of immigration,” said NAHJ Nevada President Michelle Rindels. “AP is often the final authority on journalistic style questions, and with this decision, other news outlets will find it far easier to drop the use of a term many people find offensive.”
The national NAHJ organization has long pushed for dropping the term “illegal immigrant,” arguing it’s dehumanizing. Especially when shortened to “illegals,” it can be used to belittle the estimated 11 million undocumented residents living in the United States.
Last June, NAHJ Nevada organized a panel discussion on the terminology used to discuss illegal immigration. Many of the estimated 80 attendees expressed frustration and discomfort with the term “illegal immigrant,” while news managers noted that it would be nearly impossible to end its use without a top-down policy change in the authoritative, widely used AP Stylebook. That change came Tuesday.
“With a bill to reform this nation’s immigration system set to be introduced this month, this decision was a timely one,” Rindels said. “We look forward to writing about these developments without the distraction of this polarizing phrase.”
In a statement Tuesday, AP said: “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.”
Founded in 1984, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists seeks to increase representation of Latinos in newsrooms and to improve coverage of the Latino community. The group offers scholarships, job placement and referral services, and advocates for fair and balanced coverage of Latinos on the national stage. The organization claims nearly 1,300 members nationwide, and includes 17 professional chapters.
About the Nevada Chapter
The Nevada chapter was informally organized in April 2012 by Associated Press reporter Cristina Silva, and officially established Dec. 7, 2012. Its more than two dozen dues-paying members and dozens of regular attenders include students, public relations professionals, and employees from virtually every major Las Vegas media outlet. The group meets regularly for networking meetings, holds professional growth workshops, and supports student journalists.