The Guardian, Mirror, Independent, Sun, Times, Telegraph, BBC, Daily Mail and Daily Express need to stop using the term illegal to describe people from a migrant background and instead use accurate alternatives including; ‘undocumented migrants’.
Why is this important?
The term 'illegal' is the most common precursor to the word migrant in the media. This dehumanising and inaccurate reporting is directly fueling the rise of racism.
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
Scapegoating and peddling hate towards people from a migrant background has lead to an increase of 57% in hate crime since the Brexit vote. Creating a 'hostile environment' for undocumented migrants purposefully created in policy and perpetuated in the media. The media needs to stop helping to scapegoat migrants and end the use of the dehumanising term 'illegal immigrants'. It is not only morally wrong but also factually incorrect.
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