To: The Yorkshire Post
Drop the Word 'Illegal' to Describe Migrants
The Yorkshire Post need to stop using the term 'illegal' to describe people from a migrant background and instead use accurate alternatives, such as ‘undocumented' or 'irregular' migrants.
Why is this important?
The term 'illegal' is the most common precursor to the word 'migrant' in the media. There are a myriad of reasons why that is both an inaccurate and a harmful word to be using.
It is legally incorrect, misleading, ignores international legal obligations and violates the principle of due process. It also criminalises and dehumanises people, preventing fair discussion, threatening solidarity and costing lives.
It shouldn't be the role of journalists to embrace the narratives of political parties that scapegoat migrants. As one of the oldest newspapers in the country, we believe that the Yorkshire Post can do better.
Here are a few quotes from young refugees and asylum seekers speaking on how the label ‘illegal’ made them feel:
“It makes me feel like I’m a dangerous weapon to society. If I carry a firearm, it’s illegal. It’s like you’re saying migrant is synonymous with firearm” - Prakesh, young migrant
“You feel it in everyday life, I’m not considered a human being like everyone else, the media is the source to creating all of this in the public eye” - Zahra, young migrant
“It makes you feel like you don’t belong in society” - Priya, young migrant