In an agency-wide email to U.S. attorneys offices, the Justice Department said the term “illegal aliens” rather than “undocumented” should be used when referring to immigrants who are in the United States illegally, according to CNN. “The word ‘undocumented’ is not based in U.S. code and should not be used to describe someone’s illegal presence in the country,” the department said in the email. The unified use of the term “illegal alien” would “clear up some confusion” and would provide consistency in the way the department drafts releases, it said. The email went further to say that immigrants with unknown status or are in the country legally should be described by their country of citizenship, while U.S. citizens or green card holders should be referred to as a “resident” of their state and city. The Associated Press Stylebook, known as the industry-standard style guide for journalism publications, recently updated its terminology to use the label “illegal” only for actions, rather than people.
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