Justice Department: Use 'illegal aliens,' not 'undocumented'

The Justice Department has instructed US attorneys offices not to use the term "undocumented" immigrants and instead ...

Posted: Jul 25, 2018 10:20 AM
Updated: Jul 25, 2018 10:20 AM

The Justice Department has instructed US attorneys offices not to use the term "undocumented" immigrants and instead refer to someone illegally in the US as "an illegal alien," according to a copy of an agency-wide email obtained by CNN.

According to the email, the Justice Department uses terms in the US Code to describe an individual who is illegally in the US, and thus refers to them as "an illegal alien."

"The word 'undocumented' is not based in US code and should not be used to describe someone's illegal presence in the country," the email states.

An immigrant who is in the US legally or whose status is unknown is to be described by their country of citizenship, it adds.

US citizens or green card holders are referred to as a "resident" of the state or city where they live, and the guidance says if their citizenship or status can be referenced if it is part of the factual record of the case.

The issue of how to describe people in the US illegally has long been a subject of heated debate. In 2013, The Associated Press Stylebook changed its terminology to not describe a person as illegal, only actions. The AP Stylebook is widely followed across media outlets in the US. Most outlets, including CNN use the term "undocumented immigrant," and only use terms like "alien" when directly quoting a government agency or official.

The Justice Department guidance says the goal is "to clear up some confusion and to be consistent in the way we draft our releases" and describes the particular way regional offices should refer to individuals in news releases.

A Justice Department spokesman did not dispute the authenticity of the email and pointed to the line about seeking consistency and remedying confusion.

Update: This story has been updated to add context about CNN's use of the term "undocumented immigrant."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 613228

Reported Deaths: 9728
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion846851338
Lake45676687
Allen32980552
Hamilton29649315
St. Joseph27531382
Elkhart24478345
Vanderburgh19610250
Tippecanoe18108141
Johnson15191295
Porter14944169
Hendricks14485250
Madison11044222
Clark10811144
Vigo10795181
Monroe9458113
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Kosciusko810183
Warrick680299
Hancock6782104
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Floyd6507110
Wayne6177162
Grant6027116
Dubois558680
Boone556468
Morgan548695
Henry511464
Marshall506984
Cass486964
Dearborn486545
Noble475659
Jackson427747
Shelby420781
Lawrence393780
Clinton375044
Gibson374459
Harrison353045
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Knox336239
Miami324544
Steuben315046
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Ohio4977
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Reported Deaths: 10768
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Franklin102154707
Cuyahoga865201153
Hamilton64744448
Montgomery43516419
Summit35250762
Lucas31663631
Butler31268232
Stark26096443
Warren19830142
Lorain19296229
Mahoning17471339
Lake16250154
Clermont16128112
Delaware1453680
Licking13326137
Fairfield1294981
Trumbull12920317
Greene12174141
Medina11732168
Clark11058265
Wood10457158
Allen9988127
Portage9454111
Miami924473
Richland9236118
Marion7486113
Tuscarawas7440183
Columbiana7409124
Pickaway732150
Wayne7111172
Muskingum710342
Erie6221130
Ross5558100
Hancock555292
Scioto542764
Geauga515955
Darke473492
Lawrence460658
Union456928
Ashtabula456473
Sandusky439562
Mercer435089
Seneca433866
Huron432841
Auglaize424164
Shelby422522
Jefferson422469
Belmont421145
Washington394240
Athens38389
Putnam378075
Madison358129
Knox356122
Ashland349038
Fulton340443
Defiance334486
Crawford325774
Preble322737
Brown315821
Logan312132
Ottawa296543
Clinton291543
Williams280367
Highland279018
Jackson265845
Guernsey257126
Champaign253428
Fayette239530
Morrow23464
Perry233718
Holmes226774
Henry221953
Hardin215533
Coshocton206922
Van Wert203445
Gallia199826
Wyandot196751
Pike178017
Adams177715
Hocking173224
Carroll157616
Paulding145321
Noble121040
Meigs109724
Monroe102232
Harrison89921
Morgan83931
Vinton71314
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