The Department of Justice issued guidance this week, instructing U.S. attorneys offices to use the term "illegal alien" instead of "undocumented" when referring to a foreign national illegally residing in the U.S. The guidance states that the DOJ should use the term "illegal alien" because it is used in the U.S. Code to describe foreign nationals who reside in the country unlawfully.
"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 email states.
The email goes on to say that when referring to a foreign national who is either residing in the country legally or with an unknown immigration status, offices should describe them by their country of citizenship. It adds that U.S. citizens or green card holders are to be described as a "resident" of the city or state they reside in and that the agency can refer to their citizenship or immigration status if it is pertinent to the factual record of the case.
The Associated Press Stylebook changed its terminology in 2013 to describe individuals unlawfully residing in the U.S. as "undocumented." As a result, many news outlets adopted the practice.
The agency says that it sent out the email to clarify the specific terms that regional offices should use in order to accurately describe the status of individuals.
The DOJ says they issued the guidance in order to "to clear up some confusion and to be consistent in the way we draft our releases."
For more on this story, see CNN.
Updated: Thu, Aug 9th 2018 @ 10:25am EDT