In a recent post, Robert Stribley explains Americans have derived various ways to describe those who immigrate illegally to the United States — and the ways different ways reflect our personal biases and beliefs.
Dissatisfied with the limited selection of available terminology, Stribley concludes using “unauthorized” is preferred to using “illegal” or “undocumented,” since it contains “the possibility of reparation and atonement” and allows “for a sensible reaction proportional to the offense. Accordingly, he opts for “unauthorized immigrant.”
Stribley is correct. Words matter.