Some popular opinion pieces recently have revived the long-running debate over the use of "illegal" as a way to describe immigrants in the United States without permission, with back-and-forth over what terms are or aren't acceptable alternatives and whether alternatives are even in order. Both "illegal" and "undocumented" are viewed by those on the left and right as politicized; a third term, "unauthorized," often used in academia, has seen more frequent use lately.
Joining the chorus of voices today in an MSNBC piece are Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington, D.C. organization that supports immigration restrictions and who favors "illegal alien"; Kevin R. Johnson, dean of the UC Davis School of Law and one of the bloggers behind ImmigrationProf Blog, who argues that using "illegal" to refer to people "instantly suggests that the person is undeserving of sympathy but in fact deserves punishment"; and David Minthorn, deputy standards editor of The Associated Press, whose stylebook continues to sanction "illegal immigrant."
It's a great online debate. Here's an excerpt from Minthorn's argument: