Los Angeles Times, too, moves away from 'illegal immigrant'

Los Angeles Times

Articles in the Los Angeles Times "will no longer refer to individuals as 'illegal immigrants' or 'undocumented immigrants,' but instead will describe a person's circumstances," Times reader representative Deirdre Edgar writes.



New guidance to the newsroom says to "be specific whenever possible in describing an individual’s status":

  • "Authorities said he crossed the border illegally."
  • "She entered the country to attend college but overstayed her student visa."
  • "He was brought here as a child by his parents, who entered the U.S. without a visa."

The Times said in early April it would reconsider use of the term, after the Associated Press changed style on it.

The AP, similarly, instructed its journalists to "Specify wherever possible how someone entered the country illegally and from where."

The New York Times changed its style on the term in April; it told its journalists that many people find the term "loaded or offensive" and they should "consider alternatives when appropriate."

Edgar writes that "though this is a change in written guidelines, the philosophy is already in practice in The Times."

Previously: Why the San Antonio Express-News stopped using 'illegal immigrant' 5 years ago

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at TBD.com and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.

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