In response to your clarifying “note” on D.A. King’s letter [“Word Choice Insults ‘Real Immigrants,’” May 16, Xpress]: Your choice of words describing people who flout our immigration laws (repeatedly) is dictated by The Associated Press, the media’s correct terminology gatekeeper. Deemed to be “unacceptable” by the AP are terms such as “alien” or “undocumented.” These terms are both legal and accurate by any standard. But the AP, and all those who bow to its “standard of usage,” considers these terms to be improper, even hurtful.
I’m curious what other class of lawbreakers does the AP dictate should not be offended by terms which describe their behavior? Bank robber, identity thief, murderer, rapist, drunk driver, arsonist, trafficker in illegal drugs and humans to be used as sex “workers” come to mind as possible terminology “cleansing” by the AP.
This is not a rhetorical question. Undocumented alien is just as legitimate a descriptive as any of the words used for any other crime, which describes the criminal and the crime. And “they’re human” doesn’t prevent the use of those other terms. Illegal entry by an alien in violation of our generous immigration laws makes them an “illegal alien” by any test of logic.
— B.E. Vickroy