4/2 AP Style update

illegal immigration

  • Entering or residing in a country in violation of civil or criminal law. Except in direct quotes essential to the story, use illegal only to refer to an action, not a person: illegal immigration, but not illegal immigrant. Acceptable variations include living in or entering a country illegally or without legal permission.
  • Except in direct quotations, do not use the terms illegal alien, an illegal, illegals or undocumented.
  • Do not describe people as violating immigration laws without attribution.
  • Specify wherever possible how someone entered the country illegally and from where. Crossed the border?  Overstayed a visa? What nationality?
  • People who were brought into the country as children should not be described as having immigrated illegally. For people granted a temporary right to remain in the U.S. under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, use temporary resident status, with details on the program lower in the story.
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