Guidance On ‘Chain Migration,’ ‘Family Reunification’ And ‘Children Brought Here …’

It’s long been our position that “when language is politicized,” we should “seek neutral words that foster understanding.”

In the immigration debate, one side has latched on to an old term that in the past seemed neutral: “chain migration.” The other side talks about “family reunification.” As John Burnett has said, they’re arguing over “the visa program through which immigrants already residing here can bring their family members over.”

On “chain migration,” Tom Gjelten has pointed out that now, “you can say it in a neutral way,” or it can sound “horrible.” You could make the case that “family reunification” can be used the opposite way depending on the tone and context.

In our reports, we should explain how the two sides are using the phrases, or attribute the phrases to them. Use action words, as John did, to describe what it is they’re talking about. But we shouldn’t simply adopt one or the other.

Related: When describing those known as Dreamers, of which 800,000 or so have been DACA recipients, we can say they “were brought to the country as children” or “came to the country as children.” Notice that the word “illegally” is not in those lines. That’s because some came legally, but no longer have that status.

You might, of course, qualify the reference by saying “many came illegally …” The goal is to be accurate and not assume they all entered illegally.

Also see:

- Update: Guidance On Immigration

(“Memmos;” Jan. 24, 2018)

January 24, 2018

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