By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
4/4/2013 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
Entering the debate over illegal immigration, the Associated Press (AP) has essentially banned use of the term "illegal immigrant" from its publications. The AP claims the term is dehumanizing and says that the AP stylebook will no longer sanction use of the term.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The term should only now be used to describe the action itself, of immigrating against the law to another country, but not for the people themselves. So using the term "illegal immigration" is still acceptable, but "illegal immigrant" is not.
The New York Times has also announced that it is considering removing the term from its style rules.
The change is almost Orwellian in nature, since the shift in AP policy could also influence a shift in the language everyday people use to describe individuals accused of such behavior.
However, the term should not be confused with older, pejorative terms used for individuals, particularly people of certain categories who did not choose their background. For example, to use pejorative language to describe a person who has a disability or a distinctive physical trait is different from using a term to describe a chosen behavior.
Herein lies the distinction. First-wave, adult, illegal immigrants are not born into their status, but become illegal immigrants by choosing to perform a specific, law-breaking behavior. They remain illegal immigrants so long as they persist in their behavior and refuse to follow a law-abiding course of action. Using the term in reference to such individuals seems rather fair, as long as the status is chosen and can be relieved by compliance with the law.
In many other countries, illegal immigration is a serious offense that results in a wide range of punishments, in some cases quite severe. Every nation has the right to sovereignty and to defend its borders from those whose first act upon entry is inherently unlawful.
This does not mean those who chose this action should be dehumanized or disrespected, however, a crime is a crime and those who commit crimes are criminals. Criminals are human, but they have also chosen a criminal path and this has consequences.
The Associated Press is naturally free to write in whatever style it pleases. However, in a world filled with leftist, Orwellian newspeak, there remains an obligation to speak the truth and to call those who break the law just what they are.
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