Tell New York Times To Drop 'Illegal Student' Terminology

Tell New York Times To Drop 'Illegal Student' Terminology

January 5, 2010
Petition to
Exec Director - Media Relations Diane McNulty and 1 other
Petition Closed
This petition had 394 supporters

Why this petition matters

Started by Prerna Lal

It has happened again. After the largest publication in the United States, USA TODAY, blundered in defaming undocumented youth as "illegal students" less than a month ago, the New York Times adopted the term in an editorial titled "Whither the DREAM," published on Jan 3, 2010.

These sentences barely make any sense:

NO federal law prohibits illegal immigrants from attending college in the United States, or requires them to disclose their situation. Most colleges don't even check immigration status when students apply for financial aid - only 31 percent, according to a survey last year by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers. Still, illegal students face numerous barriers to higher education.

Wait, if no federal law prohibits undocumented youth from accessing institutions of higher education, than how exactly are they illegal "students?" Has New York Times discovered some "illegal students" or "illegal persons?" We would love to know!

As unflattering as it is to call persons without documentation 'illegal,' the term illegal students makes no sense.

The editorial also falsely implied that 69% of undocumented students get financial aid because institutions of higher learning fail to do background checks, which is highly inaccurate, not to mention preposterous. 

Now is the time for us to be clear that undocumented students apply for admission, pay tuition, and study hard just like their American-born colleagues. The legality of their standing in colleges and universities should not be questioned.

Send the letter on below to tell New York Times to stop competing with our archaic immigration system and using inaccurate vitriol that does nothing to move the immigration debate forward.


Petition Closed

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Decision Makers

  • Diane McNultyExec Director - Media Relations
  • Clark HoytPublic Editor