Leah Barkoukis

Over the past few years immigration reform advocates have successfully gotten major news outlets to officially change their policy on using “illegal immigrant” to describe, well, illegal immigrants. In 2013 the Associated Press amended its styleguide, instructing reporters to no longer refer to people as “illegal.” Also off limits: illegal alien, an illegal, illegals, or undocumented. Rather, AP said to “specify wherever possible how someone entered the country illegally and from where.”

This change wasn’t limited to AP, of course, and other media outlets quickly followed suit. Now, however, NRO has noticed that immigration reform advocates are beginning to refer to illegal immigrants as “undocumented Americans.”

NRO points to columnist Ruben Navarrette, who wrote about a documentary by journalist and illegal immigrant Jose Antonio Vargas.

Relevant to the discussion are these sections:

After watching this inspirational film, I now realize that this undocumented American has a better understanding than I do of what this country is about. […]

How do I define American? It’s someone with courage, ingenuity, perseverance, work ethic, love of freedom. It’s someone who raises issues, raises consciousness and – if needed – raises hell.

Being American is first and foremost about being a legal citizen. People all over the world may share those same qualities but that does not make them a U.S. citizen. NRO is correct to note that it probably won't be long before the mainstream media picks up on the use of “undocumented American.”


Leah Barkoukis

Leah Barkoukis is the online features editor and web editor at Townhall.com.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography



TOWNHALL MEDIA GROUP