Editor's Corner: NYT 'Shift' on Immigration Language a Failure

Editor's Corner: NYT 'Shift' on Immigration Language a Failure

Nearly a year ago the New York Times announced it would continue to use the phrase 'illegal immigrant' in its stories, while granting permission to reporters to 'consider alternatives.'

Two recent stories demonstrate how Times reporters and editors have failed to keep up with the rest of the media, and even with the Supreme Court.

An otherwise excellent story on March 25, 2014 about Arizona's famous Sheriff Joe Arpaio was marred by the offhand use of the phrase: " 'Whether or not the sheriff likes it, there is a distinction in immigration law that was not understood by the population and, with all due respect to you, it is not understood by the sheriff, which is that it is not a criminal violation to be in this country without authorization,' said the judge, G. Murray Snow of United States District Court here, staring down the 81-year-old sheriff, whose tenure has been framed largely by his unforgiving stance against illegal immigrants."

And just yesterday, on March 30, 2014, a fine and important story about agriculture, labor and visas was marred by the repeated (and pointless) use of the phrase.

If Times reporters and editors are considering alternatives, show me.  So far, I see no shift. - Daniel M. Kowalski, Mar. 31, 2014.