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Associated Press drops 'illegal immigrant' from style guide

The Associated Press will no longer refer to people as 'illegal immigrants' in news coverage.

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A student wearing an "I am undocumented" T-shirt protests deportations on June 15, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Kevork Djansezian/AFP/Getty Images)

Many newspapers and journalists across America will no longer use “illegal immigrants” in stories after the Associated Press announced today it’s dropping the term from its style guide.

While actions might be termed "illegal," people are not, executive editor Kathleen Carroll said.

“The Stylebook no longer sanctions the term ‘illegal immigrant’ or the use of ‘illegal’ to describe a person,” Carroll wrote online.

“Instead, it tells users that ‘illegal’ should describe only an action, such as living in or immigrating to a country illegally.”

The AP Styleguide is a reference manual and dictionary for many reporters working across the United States; however, many newspapers, websites and TV stations will often vary from AP.

Still, the decision was hailed as important by immigration advocacy groups.

More from GlobalPost: Cuban readjustment to immigration reform?

Colorlines – which launched its “Drop the I word” campaign three years ago – said “illegal immigrant” can be used as a “racially charged slur.”

“It’s great to see the Associated Press stand up for responsible journalistic standards. The style guide is the last word on journalistic practice so it’s particularly important for the AP to set this standard,” said Rinku Sen, executive director at Colorlines.com.

“This should put the debate to rest.”

Another influential news source, The New York Times, is also considering a change.

Phil Corbett, The New York Times editor in charge of standards, told Poynter that the newspaper was planning to make its own announcement soon.

“We’ve been discussing some possible revisions in our guidance on these terms for a couple of months,” Corbett told Poynter.org.

“Coincidentally, we had been expecting to send a memo to the staff soon, possibly this week.”

More from GlobalPost: Immigration reform, or 'here we go again'

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/130402/associated-press-illegal-immigrant-style-guide