‘Illegal immigrant’: A phrase on its way out?

The L.A. Times and the Denver Post are the latest news organization to turn away from the term in a few weeks’ time.

The Los Angeles Times and The Denver Post won’t be using the phrase “illegal immigrant” anymore. At the L.A. Times, “undocumented immigrant” is out, too.

The reason isn’t necessarily a political one. It’s linguistic.

The Wednesday Times memo announcing the change states:

“‘Illegal immigrants’ is overly broad and does not accurately apply in every situation. The alternative suggested by the 1995 guidelines, ‘undocumented immigrants,’ similarly falls short of our goal of precision. It is also untrue in many cases, as with immigrants who possess passports or other documentation but lack valid visas.”

The Post’s editor-in-chief wrote in a Thursday blog post that, “if we know the actual circumstances, we will describe them.”

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