Fox Uses “Undocumented Immigrant” Term It Has Criticized

Fox News identified an immigrant as “undocumented” during an America Live segment today, even as the network has criticized others for using the term. In fact, host Megyn Kelly previously stated that referring to immigrants as “undocumented” is like calling rapists “nonconsensual sex partners.”

During an America Live segment about the trial of a man who is reportedly in the country illegally, on-screen text read: “No Trial For Undocumented Immigrant For Now”:


However, Kelly used “illegal alien” and “illegal immigrant” while talking about the case. She did not address the on-screen language.

In December 2010, a member of the Diversity Committee of the Society of Professional Journalists recommended that journalists stop using the term “illegal immigrant” in favor of “undocumented” immigrant or worker. In a December 29,2010, segment about the issue, Kelly stated:

KELLY: How far could you take this? I mean, you could say that a burglar is an unauthorized visitor. You know, you could say that a rapist is a non-consensual sex partner, I mean, which, obviously, would be considered offensive to the victims of those crimes. So how far could you take this?

Kelly added: “What if there was a push by the criminal defense bar to re-brand the use of the word rapist to nonconsensual sex partner?”

When the Associated Press announced it would no longer refer to undocumented immigrants as “illegal immigrants,” Fox News attacked the decision as politically motivated. Contributor Rich Lowry called the AP's change “political correctness” and claimed:

LOWRY: There's a political agenda behind this, which is that they don't like the idea of any sort of immigrants being tarred with unlawfulness or illegal. Which is why they prefer the term undocumented, which makes it sound as though it's kind of the fault of the authorities for not getting documents for these people quickly enough -- which is basically their view.

Contributor Michelle Malkin accused the AP of “abject stupidity” and “blatant politicizing,” and dismissed “undocumented immigrant” as a “very imprecise and very loaded term because a lot of these illegal aliens have plenty of fake documents.” Contributor Monica Crowley similarly stated of the AP: “They are not acting so much as serious journalists anymore as they are advocates of a certain position.”

Likewise, the hosts of Fox & Friends blasted the AP's decision, with co-host Steve Doocy claiming this was the AP's way of “cheerleading” for immigration reform. Co-host Brian Kilmeade went on to say, “Why do you have to be neutral? They're here illegally.” Doocy added: “I feel sorry for The Associated Press copywriters. I mean, they're gonna be scratching their heads, 'OK, what do we call that guy? Border jumper?”

Fox Nation also used the term “undocumented immigrant” in a headline this week: