N&O: Stop Using the word "illegal"

Colleges await more advice on illegals

newsobserver.com | Colleges await more advice on illegals

The N&O does a global search on every “undocumented” in official statements about immigrants and replaces with “ilegals”. Presumably, they are intelligent enough to know what they are doing and are doing this deliberately. Please write to the author of this particular piece, Kristin Collins at kristin.collins@newsobserver.com to let her know that this is disgusting and has to stop. Here’s some typical text…

I read with increasing dismay, the use of the word “illegals” in your articles to describe people who lack the necessary documentation to live in the United States. A small percentage of their actions can be termed illegal, but they are not “illegal” people. This is the same as saying that every one who drives 36 mph in a 35 mph zone is an illegal. A person may be guilty or charged of illegal acts, that does not make them “illegals”. Note that in the course of a day, an undocumented immigrant may perform  many many legal acts and a so called “legal” American may be breaking the law a dozen times. If the definition of illegal is knowingly breaking a law (whether you get caught or not), all of us are “illegal” in one way or the other.

I fear that your temptation to use one charged word to describe whole groups of real law abiding, tax paying people is lazy at best, and fear mongering and sensationalistic at worst. The N&O does good investigative work and need not sully its good name by stooping to such demagoguery. Please stop. If you want to use one word, use “undocumenteds”. It is more specific and conveys to readers exactly what illegal act these people are charged with.

1 comment for “N&O: Stop Using the word "illegal"

  1. Sadly Mistaken
    May 17, 2008 at 10:01 pm

    Bravo!

    You will not find the words “illegal immigrant” in any federal law. The N&O by using that phrase adopts the phrase of xenophobic political groups and places it in the mainstream which clouds rational debate on immigration.

    The fact the N&O reporters resort to these terms raises doubt in my mind about the accuracy and objectiveness of all else they write.