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.
The Associated Press announced Thursday that it will no longer suggest the use of the term “illegal immigrant.”
At the Online News Association Conference held in September, 2012, journalist Jose Antonio Vargas asked media companies — specifically The New York Times and the Associated Press — to stop using the term. Watch his ONA12 keynote speech.
In response to AP’s decision Thursday, Antonio Vargas tweeted:
The New York Times Public Editor, Margaret Sullivan, wrote Thursday that The Times was also “reconsidering” the term.
The Times, for the past couple of months, has also been considering changes to its stylebook entry on this term and will probably announce them to staff members this week. (A stylebook is the definitive guide to usage, relied upon by writers and editors, for the purpose of consistency.)
From what I can gather, The Times’s changes will not be nearly as sweeping as The A.P.’s.