Library of Congress to stop using 'illegal' and 'alien' to describe immigrants, group says

Story highlights

  • Instead, the Library of Congress will use the terms "non-citizen" and "unauthorized immigrants"
  • Students, faculty and librarians with a Dartmouth group petitioned for the change

Washington (CNN)The Library of Congress will no longer use the words "illegal" and "alien" to describe undocumented immigrants after Dartmouth College students petitioned for the change, the group said Wednesday.

Instead, the Library of Congress will use the terms "non-citizen" and "unauthorized immigrants" in subject headings to refer to undocumented immigrants.
Students, faculty and librarians with the Dartmouth Coalition for Immigration Reform, Equality and DREAMers, or CoFIRED, petitioned for the change for two years, according to a press release by the group. The acronym DREAMer comes from the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, which, if enacted, would allow immigrants who were brought to the United States as children to be granted residency in the country.
    "We call on both politicians and media outlets to follow the precedent set by the Library of Congress," Dennise Hernandez, co-director of CoFIRED, said in the release. "We call on both politicians and media outlets to follow the precedent set by the Library of Congress. It is way past time that we all recognize that referring to immigrants as 'illegal' is an offensive, dehumanizing term and that there is no excuse to continue using it."
    The Library of Congress did not immediately respond to a request for comment.