Clinton vows to stop saying 'illegal immigrants'

Clinton vows to stop saying 'illegal immigrants'
© Getty Images

Former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonClinton takes swipe at 'false equivalency' in media coverage of 2016 election Former presidents, first ladies come together to honor Barbara Bush Romney: Parts of Comey book read 'too much like a novel’ MORE on Tuesday vowed to refrain from using the term “illegal” when discussing undocumented immigrants, saying it “was a poor choice of words.”

In a Noticias Telemundo Facebook Q&A with the Democratic presidential front-runner, immigration rights activist Jose Antonio Vargas referred to a campaign speech in which Clinton used the term “illegal immigrants” when addressing immigration reform.

ADVERTISEMENT
“On behalf of the organization I founded, Define American, and the 11.7 million undocumented immigrants in this country — including myself — I am asking all the presidential candidates to recognize that #wordsmatter by committing to not using the term ‘illegal’ when referencing the undocumented population,” Vargas asked Clinton on Facebook.

Clinton responded, “Yes, I will. 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.”

“I’ve talked about undocumented immigrants hundreds of times and fought for years for comprehensive immigration reform,” Clinton continued in her Facebook response. “We are a country built by immigrants and our diversity makes us stronger as a nation — it’s something to be proud of, celebrate, and defend. -H.”

As immigration reform has become a hot-button issue in the 2016 election, there have been repeated calls for politicians to shy away from using “illegal” when describing undocumented immigrants. They say the term is offensive.

The Associated Press issued a change in the AP Stylebook in April to refrain from using the term.

Vargas, previously a journalist at the Washington Post and Huffington Post, in 2011 revealed his status as an undocumented immigrant. He has since been one of the public faces of the immigration reform effort.

- Updated at 2:29 p.m.