The Orwellian Immigrant Doublespeak of the Associated Press

Published on April 4th, 2013

The mainstream media's pervasive bias towards illegal immigration has become acutely obvious in recent years.

Over the past decade, it has been extraordinarily difficult to find a mainstream media article that uses correct terminology when referring to illegal aliens. The terms "undocumented worker," "undocumented immigrant," "undocumented student," "undocumented alien," and "illegal immigrant" are often used to describe those who have broken the laws of our land to enter and work in our country illegally. These are all misleading and deliberately obfuscated terms.

Indeed, in recent years, it has been notably unusual for even the race or nationality of an accused criminal illegal alien to be seen in print. Any attributes identifying an accused criminal as an illegal alien or a foreign national are deliberately self-censored from news coverage.

The mainstream media's conspicuous self-censorship culminated on April 2, 2013 with the Associated Press' expungement of the term "illegal immigrant" from its Stylebook. (Apparently "illegal alien" was clandestinely expunged years ago.)

An April 2 Washington Post story announced that:

"The Associated Press has dropped the phrase “illegal immigrant” from its stylebook, a victory for immigrant advocates  [sic] who argue that the term is biased against the people it describes.

“The Stylebook no longer sanctions the term ‘illegal immigrant’ or the use of ‘illegal’ to describe a person," a blog post from AP Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll explains. “Instead, it tells users that ‘illegal’ should describe only an action, such as living in or immigrating to a country illegally.”

"The AP previously rejected the term 'undocumented immigrants,' favored by some pro-reform activists, as inaccurate. Many people in the country illegally have documents, just not the right ones.

"So if they’re not illegal or undocumented, how should one refer to the 11 million [to 40 million] people in the country illegally?" 

As noted journalist A. J. Liebling so aptly observed, "Freedom of the press is limited to those who own one."

Remember hearing about Operation Wetback in the 1950s? President Eisenhower deported a million illegal aliens who were depressing farm workers' wages. In a time when the twisted concepts of political correctness hadn't been contrived, President  Eisenhower enforced immigration policy in the best interest of Americans.

Then in 1977, President Jimmy Carter deliberately adopted the terms undocumented alien and undocumented immigrant in order to soften the language used in immigration discussions, while still feigning the desire to halt illegal immigration.

Today we're enmeshed in a linguistic quagmire that any self-respecting journalist would excoriate.

It might be valuable  to elucidate the correct terminology.

1. An immigrant is "a person who comes to a country to take up permanent residence." An immigrant is an invited guest – a person who comes to a country where they are not a citizen in order to settle there. The term "immigrant" implies permanent, legal residency. (Although because of amnesties and status adjustments, about 25 percent of currently legal immigrants first came here illegally.)

2. An alien is defined by the U.S. Citizenship and Naturalization Services as "any person not a citizen or national of the United States". The term is defined by United States statute, in Section 1101(a)(3) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (with amendments by Congress through 2001). Aliens can be either legally or illegally present in the U.S.  The term "alien" is purposefully and appropriately used in US Government documents, such as in "AR-11, Alien’s Change of Address Card," and  the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) — "an act of Congress that, along with other immigration laws, treaties, and conventions of the United States, relates to the immigration, temporary admission, naturalization and removal of aliens."

3. An illegal alien is "a foreigner who has entered or resides in a country unlawfully or without the country's authorization." An illegal alien is an alien – that is, a foreign national – who has illegally entered the United States, or who enters legally and then deliberately overstays their visa. An illegal alien is a criminal subject to as much as six months in jail for first offense and subject to federal felony charges for subsequent entries after initial deportation. 

States also recognize this official term. For example, Colorado defines an illegal alien as "anyone who has entered the United States illegally and is deportable, or anyone who has overstayed a visa or otherwise violated the terms of his or her legal admission into the United States. Sometimes known as an illegal immigrant.

4. The term "illegal alien" is purposefully and appropriately used in US Government documents, such as "Immigration Investigations, Enforcement, Detention and Removal: For information about immigration investigations, enforcement, detention or removal of aliens from the U.S., or to report suspected illegal aliens or other illegal immigration activity, please visit the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement website at www.ice.com"  and  "an illegal alien who entered the United States without inspection, for example, would be strictly defined as an immigrant under the INA but is not a permanent resident alien," and "certain illegal aliens who were eligible to apply for temporary resident status under the legalization provision of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986."

Someone once observed that:"He who controls the language controls the debate."

One might wonder what other stylish, politically correct terminology will be deployed as the amnesty-mongers ply their agenda. Perhaps "undocumented citizen"?

Or perhaps, as Jay Leno quipped:

"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.’"

Journalist Michelle Malkin nailed the problem when she wrote:

"Just a few years ago, the AP resisted open-borders demands and the pressure of political correctness in favor of pithiness and precision. In 2010, a member of the Diversity Committee of the Society of Professional Journalists launched a campaign 'illegal immigrant and 'illegal alien.'  The crusading journalist argued that foreign law-breakers should instead be labeled 'undocumented workers' or 'undocumented immigrants'"

"So what changed? Journalist Kathleen Carroll, AP's executive editor, attributes the move to the 'evolving' English language. I attribute it to the 'evolving' transformation of once-neutral news organizations into brazenly transparent satellite lobbying outfits for the left. It's not media bias that's the problem, of course. It's the sanctimonious pretense of objectivity to which these alleged practitioners of journalism cling."

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