Call on CNN to keep its word and drop "illegal immigrant"

We received more than 5,000 signatures on our original petition calling on CNN to stop using the terms "illegal immigrant" in reference to undocumented immigrants.

CNN promised to reissue its editorial guidelines prohibiting the use of "illegal" if we took our petition down.

Two days later, CNN's Jake Tapper used the term in reference to undocumented immigrants in the Republican debate. His violation of editorial policy had no consequences. On November 19th, CNN reporter Elise Labott tweeted in support of those fleeing Syria and was promptly suspended for two weeks citing a breach in CNN's social media policy. This clear bias has no place at a news organization that adheres to journalistic standards of integrity and credibility.

According to the Huffington Post, CNN has used the term "illegal immigrant" or "illegal alien" a total of 1,634 times, out of 1,995 times in the past year.

Join us in showing CNN that words matter. We call on CNN to publicly confirm it will no longer use the terms "illegal immigrant" or "illegal alien" in reference to undocumented immigrants.
To:
Jeff Zucker, CEO, CNN Worldwide
Jake Tapper,Anchor, CNN
Andrew Morse, Executive VP of Editorial, CNN U.S. & General Manager of CNN Digital Worldwide
Geraldine Moriba, VP of Diversity and Inclusion
Anderson Cooper, Anchor, CNN
Don Lemon, Anchor, CNN

According to the Huffington Post, CNN has used the term "illegal immigrant" or "illegal alien" a total of 1,634 times, out of 1,995 times in the past year.

The content of our speech leads to actions - the rising racist and xenophobic debate around immigrants has only increased as U.S. governors close their doors to Syrians fleeing unthinkable violence, and the term "illegal" is also factually flawed. Being in the U.S. without proper documents is a civil offense, not a criminal one. Many other leading media outlets, including the Associated Press, NBC and ABC, have already adjusted their editorial guidelines to prohibit the use of "illegal" when referring to undocumented immigrants. As an influential media outlet, we call on CNN to do the same.

Words matter. We call on CNN to publicly confirm it will no longer use the terms "illegal immigrant" or "illegal alien" in reference to undocumented immigrants.

[your comment]

Sincerely,
[your name]
Update #12 years ago
After three years of fighting, we finally did it!

CNN has publicly acknowledged their policy change to stop using “illegal” to refer to immigrants.

CNN’s statement is a big win for our #WordsMatter program, asking all news outlets to make this policy change. This is an important victory in our work to shape the media narrative toward more humanizing representation of immigrants.

Join us and continue the fight: https://defineamerican.com/wordsmatter

Thank you for supporting #WordsMatter!
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