Open Letter #22 To President Obama – Immigration Reform Now!

Dear Mr. President,
The Associated Press is a trusted news leader so when the AP decides it will no longer use the phrase “illegal immigrants” my ears perked up, because I figured they definitely have some inside information I don’t. Could it be they have inside information that we may soon no longer have “illegal immigrants” in the United States?

The timing of the decision by the AP definitely leads to speculation as to the reasoning now, after all these years. The rationale given by the AP Stylebook is that illegal can refer to an action, but not a person.

But I’m not buying it!

Especially because the New York Times on April 2nd said a bipartisan Senate group is preparing to roll out broad immigration legislation during the week of April 8th and a bipartisan group of eight House members is also readying its own bill.

So April could definitely be the Spring of immigration reform in the U.S. and as such the AP is jumping ahead and spring cleaning already.
Interesting too is the fact that the AP has not disclosed what term it will replace the phrase with. Seems to me they are simply waiting for the day when they can simply write “immigrants” and nothing else in stories.

Other media houses should take a cue from the AP; especially those who persist in referring to the undocumented immigrants as “illegal aliens.”
Now, may I suggest Mr. President that you also get into Spring cleaning mode by urging Department of Homeland executives to shun the ugly and incorrect term – “illegal aliens” and “aliens” all together.

Last time I looked up the definition of an “alien,” it was one set aside for “life which does not originate from the Earth” or a “specie not native to its environment.”

I don’t think either definition fits that of a hard working foreigner who moves to another country to seek a better life for him or her and/or family. And if the AP’s argument is correct and Illegal can only refer to action, then the two words stringed together, makes no sense at all.

So as lawmakers get to that long overdue bill and we all hold our collective breaths for passage through the Congress, I hope you will also use this time and do what you can from the sidelines – follow the AP’s move and also banish the term “illegal alien” from the U.S. DHS and its respective immigration agencies.
Respectfully,

Felicia Persaud

The writer is founder of NewsAmericasNow, CaribPR Wire and Hard Beat Communications.