Should the Word 'Illegals' Be Illegal?
A newspaper in California, the Santa Barbara News-Press, recently featured a front-page headline that used the word "illegals" to describe immigrants who are living in the United States illegally.
Several days after the headline ran, the newspaper's offices were vandalized.
FoxNews.com reported that in addition to apparent paintball splatters, the entrance to the News-Press building was spray-painted with graffiti that read: "Fight back" and "The border is illegal not the people who cross it."
In the following days, demonstrators gathered outside the building, chanting and marching in protest of the word "illegals," which they say is offensive.
Other people came out in support of the paper.
"I don't think the headline was insulting at all," one counter-demonstrator said. "If you're here illegally, do you have that big of a say?"
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In a statement, the newspaper said it has no plans to drop its style in describing illegal immigrants.
"It has been the practice for nearly 10 years at the Santa Barbara News-Press to describe people living in this country illegally as “illegals” regardless of their country of origin," the statement read. "This practice is under fire by some immigration groups who believe that this term is demeaning and does not accurately reflect the status of “undocumented immigrants,” one of several terms other media use to describe people in the Unites States illegally.
"It is an appropriate term in describing someone as “illegal” if they are in this country illegally," the statement added.
The debate over how to label people who are in the U.S. without permission has raged at news organizations across the nation in recent years. In 2013, both The Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times banned the phrase after employing it for decades, saying it "lacked precision," according to Pew Research Center.
The Washington Post, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal all use the phrase, although only The Wall Street Journal uses “illegal immigrant” to refer to people who not only criminally enter the U.S. without the proper documentation, but also those who overstay their visas.
FoxNews.com's policy is to describe immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally as "illegal immigrants."
Watch the clip from "Fox and Friends" above.