The Library Of Congress Will Cease Using The Term "Illegal Alien"


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The Library of Congress, saying a once common phrase had become offensive, announced it will no longer use “illegal aliens” as a bibliographical term.
The library will now use “noncitizens” and “unauthorized immigration” when referring to individuals and the larger phenomenon of people residing in the country illegally. The library called the words more precise as well as less offensive.
The change was prompted by a group of students from Dartmouth College, who urged the Library of Congress to scrap the term. The group — known as CoFIRED, for the Dartmouth Coalition for Immigration Reform, Equality and Dreamers — was assisted by the American Library Assn.
Melissa Padilla, a student in her last year at the New Hampshire university, recalls her freshman year, when she “decided to explore [her] identity as an undocumented immigrant.”
While researching the topic, Padilla realized she frequently read the words “illegal alien.” She contacted fellow members of CoFIRED, and they made their appeal to the Library of Congress in 2014. “I think a university should be free of the racist phrases I heard growing up,” she said.
The Library of Congress established the catalog subject heading “aliens, illegal” in 1980 and revised it to “illegal aliens” in 1993.
Though the latter has been heard frequently during the current presidential campaign — along with “illegals” — it has fallen out of favor in the news media and elsewhere, and the Library of Congress noted the trend in an executive summary released on March 22.
“The phase illegal aliens has taken on a pejorative tone in recent years, and in response, some institutions have determined that they will cease to use it,” the executive summary said. “For example, in April 2014 the Associated Press announced that illegal would not be used as a descriptor for any individual.”
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