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Should Media Outlets Drop the Term 'Illegal Immigrant'? Ask Someone Without Papers

Posted: Sep 26, 2012


After a speech by undocumented journalist Jose Antonio Vargas last week, media outlets like The New York Times and the Associated Press are being forced to consider that question.

Case in point: On Monday, the public editor at the Times decided to gather reader comments on the subject, amassing more than 280 replies, many of which called for the paper to continue describing people as "illegal."

But reading through the comments, one voice was largely missing: that of the people who will actually be described by the term.

Yesterday, ABC/Univision released an informal survey to ask undocumented immigrants which designation they believe media outlets should use. The question posed: "Which term do you prefer be used to describe immigration status: illegal immigrant, undocumented immigrant, or something else? Why?"

This wasn't a scientific study, but the response was tremendous. In less than 24 hours, 325 individuals replied via the survey form, and dozens more sent emails.

Of the 325 respondents -- who skewed young, Latino and Internet savvy -- 277 chose some variation of "undocumented." We encourage you to join the discussion by filling out the form here, and to visit the Univision News Tumblr, where we'll post a stream of comments throughout the week.

Here are some of the people who responded, and why they want to end the era of "illegal."

Read more on ABC/Univision.



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