The Associated Press announced on Tuesday that it will no longer allow the term “illegal immigrant” or the use of the word “Illegal” for that matter to describe a human being.
“The discussions on this topic have been wide-ranging and include many people from many walks of life,” SVP and executive editor Kathleen Carroll wrote on the AP blog.
"The Associated Press Style Book” not only governs how the AP writes news, but it’s also the most widely accepted source for news writing style in the United States.
The debate over using the term “illegal” when describing humans has definitely been a point of contention for media outlets and media watchdogs.
"We applaud AP for its decision to stop using the word ‘illegal’ to describe human beings,” Hispanic Media Coalition’s president and CEO voices the organization's approval. “For far too long, this term has been accepted as a politically correct way for some to spew hatred, xenophobia, and fear throughout our communities.”
“At a certain point, it lost any descriptive qualities and became nothing more than a slur used to dehumanize and degrade a very important part of our country,” he continues.
The AP’s decision follows as several college newspapers and news organizations including ABC, NBC and CNN had already decided to stop using the term in referring to people.
The decision isn’t totally a 180 turn from the AP's stance last fall, but it’s definitely a change. Then, the news service decided to continue using the term with certain limitations while it offered alternatives.
The effect of the AP’s decision is already affecting the industry at the top. On Tuesday afternoon, the New York Times announced it would be "reconsidering" its use of “illegal immigrant,” as well.