When it comes to one of the biggest issues of the day — illegal immigration — the Justice Department has made a move toward the use of correct terminology within that department.
The DOJ, headed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions (shown above), has reportedly told its attorneys by email that the term “undocumented” is inaccurate according to U.S. Code, and that they should start using the legally correct term — “illegal alien,” as CNN noted.
The DOJ reminded its lawyers that there must be uniformity in the terms they use, implying that they are seeing the word “undocumented” more than a little bit.
The email sought “to clear up some confusion and to be consistent in the way we draft our releases,” CNN quoted the email as saying.
“It’s hard to use words that one side or the other doesn’t say, ‘That’s the wrong word to use’ or ‘That is the right word to use,'” Leo Chavez, an anthropology professor at the University of California at Irvine who studies media representation of immigration, told Advance Local regarding the issue of immigration verbiage. “It’s such a politicized discussion right now that it’s hard to come up with words that are neutral.”
Some words should not be “neutral,” but factual. Those who are in our country illegally are, factually, illegal aliens.
Liberal activists have frequently attacked the use of the term “illegal” in the nation’s immigration debate; they’ve often held up signs saying, “No person is illegal.”
The media, too, often use the word “undocumented” when talking about illegal border crossings. In 2013, the Associated Press Stylebook changed its terminology to describe only actions as illegal, not persons, CNN noted. The AP Stylebook is widely used by many media outlets in the U.S.
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Conservatives, however, generally consider the term a politically correct buzzword designed to distort and distract from a serious national issue.
Media are CRAZED over @realDonaldTrump's use of the term "spy." But @CNN, @ABC, @NBCNews, @MSNBC and the leftwing media CONSTANTLY refer to "illegal aliens"–the correct term according to the U.S. Code–as "undocumented immigrants."https://t.co/tZt8j98yae#DoubleStandards
— Larry Elder (@larryelder) June 7, 2018
Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) introduced legislation in 2016 to fight the decision from the Library of Congress that same year to stop using the terms “alien” and “illegal alien” as subject headings in its materials, calling them “pejorative.”
Black released the following statement, summing up why words and terms matter: “This needless policy change by the Library of Congress embodies so much of what taxpayers find enraging about Washington. By trading common-sense language for sanitized political-speak, they are caving to the whims of left-wing special interests and attempting to mask the grave threat that illegal immigration poses to our economy, our national security, and our sovereignty.”
She continued, “My constituents know that illegal immigration by any other name is still illegal, and we should identify it as such.” She added that she hoped the bill “will give Washington the push needed to stop thinking up the most politically correct ways to describe illegal immigration and start thinking about solutions to address it.”
Black’s bill, “Stopping Partisan Policy at the Library of Congress Act,” passed 25-24 in May 2016.