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Is the term ‘Illegal Immigrant’ offensive?

On December 28, The Blaze reported that according to the Diversity Committee of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), the term “illegal immigrant” is offensive to Latinos. They are calling on all news organizations to drop the term from their news coverage in an effort to “inform and sensitize” people on how “offensive” the phrase is to Latinos.

Leo Lawrence of the Quill, Diversity Committee, said “that individuals living in America without approval should be called undocumented workers or undocumented immigrants.” SPJ Diversity Committee chairman George Daniels said, “This is not about being politically correct but about aiming to minimize harm when reporting.”

Despite the push from the SPJ, the Associated Press will stay with its established guidelines surrounding the use of the term “illegal immigrants” saying, in part, “Together, the terms describe a person who resides in a country unlawfully by residency or citizenship requirements. Alternatives like undocumented worker, illegal alien or illegal’s lack precision or may have negative connotations. Illegal immigrant, on the other hand, is accurate and neutral for news stories.”

Contrary to what they say, the SPJ’s quest is not to “inform and sensitize” rather it is to “mislead and desensitize.” By insisting we no longer use the term illegal immigrant, they are, in essence, attempting to de-criminalize a criminal act.

For more on this topic:

The Blaze:

SPJ; stop calling them illegal:


  • Society of Professional Journalists 4 years ago

    Contrary to many references in recent days, there has been no official SPJ or SPJ Committee initiative on this topic.

    One of SPJ’s members (Laurence) wrote a blog posting and an article expressing his personal opinion and reporting discussion within the committee on this topic. However, the committee did not reach any consensus and Laurence's proposition was voted down.

    Additionally here are two Fox News coverage bit URL links clarifying the misconception:

    Fox & Friends

    I hope this helps with any needed clarifications.

  • Profile picture of Christina Wijfjes-Smit
    Christina Wijfjes-Smit 4 years ago

    It does indeed, thank you.

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