More good news from the West Coast! From Greg Moore, Editor-In-Chief:
During the past decade I have had several conversations with groups and individuals that eventually landed on use of the term illegal immigrant to describe those who have unlawfully come to the United States. I have heard all kinds of arguments. I always tensed up when someone arguedillegal immigrant was the same as racial epithets used to describe blacks and Jews. I still believe those comparisons are wrongheaded. But other examples stayed with me. I remember once being told that a young girl cried upon seeing a relative described as an illegal immigrant.
Yesterday, I decided The Denver Post will no longer use the term “illegal immigrant” when describing a person in the country unlawfully. If we know the actual circumstances we will describe them. The word “illegal” will not be applied to a person, only an action.
We began discussing this issue about a month ago after The Associated Press changed its policy. The AP’s action followed a number of other news organizations, such as NBC News, that had long abandoned the use of “illegal immigrant.” A cross section of staff was invited to discuss their views, and then we reviewed the usage in our own news organization. There were not many instances outside of quotations where we described a person as an illegal immigrant, and even rarer in a headline. Why? Because we generally don’t know a person’s status and it is not our practice to ask.
Some people say you can never win an argument with a newspaper. We certainly believe in what we do. But we also believe in listening and learning. We appreciate all of the thoughtful arguments mustered over these many years.
I feel good about how we got here. I am also thinking about that little girl I heard about a while back. She can wipe away those tears.