The Associated Press has announced extensive reasoning in the dropping of the phrase “illegal immigrant”. A brief excerpt from Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll:
The Stylebook no longer sanctions the term “illegal immigrant” or the use of “illegal” to describe a person. Instead, it tells users that “illegal” should describe only an action, such as living in or immigrating to a country illegally.
Slate’s coverage of the change includes an article by David Weigel (How Immigration Activists Convinced the AP That “Illegal” Was a Dirty Word) and recommending a November episode of Slate’s “Lexicon Valley,” embedded in their most recent post.