LatinaLista -- In a post written last week, Latina Lista pointed out that the Associated Press continues to use the term "illegal immigrant," thus sanctioning its use by media outlets that follow its lead.
A representative from the AP claimed it was a neutral term. Yet, recent usage by the Fresno Bee in an immigration series published by the paper proved otherwise. Readers were calling for boycotts of the paper and a Facebook page had been created to foster support for the campaign.
Yet, the Fresno Bee justified their usage because the AP says it's the proper term to use.
Latina Lista contends the AP is wrong to continue to sanction a term that is considered widely offensive to members of the Latino community and denounced by the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.
We also feel that those newspapers who continue to use the term, over their readers' objections, are exhibiting a blatant disregard for their readers, especially Latino readers.
One newspaper cited in last week's post that bucked the lead of the AP on this matter is the Miami Herald. In an e-mail response to Latina Lista, Aminda "Mindy" Marquez Gonzalez, the Executive Editor, explained why the Miami Herald feels the term "illegal immigrant" is wrong:
We basically adopted the guidelines of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists on this front. The consensus here was that the term frequently is wrong. We often don't know if someone is here illegally since so many immigrants actually do enter this country legally and then overstay their visas.
"Undocumented migrant" is more neutral and more accurate while conveying the same status. We sometimes run into difficulties on headlines because it's so long, but by and large we always try to use the more neutral term.