La Alianza Latina Calls for the Review to Drop the “I-Word”

In the issue of The Oberlin Review released April 26, an article titled “Kiss My Sass: The Immigration Bill” included the word “illegal” in reference to undocumented immigrants and their entry into the U.S. We, the members of Oberlin College’s La Alianza Latina, find the term “illegal” to be extremely misleading and dehumanizing when used in reference to a group of people living in the U.S. that poses no threat to citizens of this country. The term also continues to perpetuate the criminalization of undocumented migrants who have historically been marginalized, oppressed and taken advantage of in the United States. We are not assuming bad intentions, but we believe that members of the student body should be aware of their privilege as college students when speaking about such topics as immigration and our positionality as citizens or non-citizen students here in the Oberlin community.

We are calling for The Oberlin Review to drop the inherently dehumanizing and insensitive term “illegal immigrant” from its style guide, as other major news agencies have already done. In early April, the Associated Press eliminated the term “illegal immigrant” from its style guide. Citing that the term “illegal” was an inaccurate label for undocumented immigrants, AP’s Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll also stated that the word “illegal” should only be applied to an action, not an individual.

As an organization, we hope to continue to raise awareness in our community about the current immigration debate, and we appreciate the cooperation of any Oberlin students and community members in this endeavor.

Victoria Velasco
College junior

–Stephanie Mora Hernandez
College senior