Hillary Clinton admitted on Tuesday that her use of the term ‘illegal immigrants’ was a “poor choice of words” and vowed not to use it anymore.
The Democratic presidential candidate admitted the mistake during a Facebook Q&A held by Telemundo. Clinton was asked to change her choice of words by Jose Antonio Vargas, a journalist whose organization Define American aims to shift the conversation around immigrants and citizenship in America.
“Yes, I will,” Clinton wrote. “That was a poor choice of words. As I’ve said throughout this campaign, the people at the heart of this issue are children, parents, families, DREAMers. They have names and hopes and dreams that deserve to be respected.”
The term ‘DREAMers’ comes from the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act and refers to undocumented immigrants who entered the United States as children.
Define American has also gone after networks like NBC. Recent reports have said NBC News president Deborah Turness used the term ‘illegals’ in a meeting despite the network’s policy to use the term ‘undocumented.’ Define American says ‘illegals’ has racist overtones and that the term itself is incorrect.
“Being in the U.S. without proper documents is a civil offense, not a criminal one,” a press release said.
“We are not trying to legislate speech, but rather educate on why the rhetoric around immigration – particularly from those in prominent positions – plays such a critical role in the public’s perception of the 11.7 million undocumented Americans living in this country,” said Rev. Ryan M. Eller, executive director of the organization.
Define American has started a campaign called #wordsmatter to fight the negative rhetoric in the media.