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Borders and Populations

Israel, Palestine, Jerusalem

Language, Please is a living resource that will be regularly updated. We’re working hard on an entry for this topic — please check back in soon.

Kashmir

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Middle East

Language, Please is a living resource that will be regularly updated. We’re working hard on an entry for this topic — please check back in soon.

migrant

“Migrant” is an umbrella term for anyone who moves within or outside of their country of residence. Being specific about the situation in question and someone’s motivation for the move can help bring clarity to a story. For example, referring to people who are fleeing war or persecution as “refugees” will highlight the necessity of their move in a way that recognizes their situation.

migrant worker

A “migrant worker” is a person who moves to another country, often temporarily, for the purpose of seeking employment. Migrant workers are referred to by various other terms, including “foreign workers,” “seasonal workers,” “guest workers,” or “temporary contractual workers,” though the first term may be othering and can insert a note of bias into any description of someone’s experience.

Myanmar

Language, Please is a living resource that will be regularly updated. We’re working hard on an entry for this topic — please check back in soon.

nationalism

“Nationalism” is a sense of belonging to a place or a people united by language, culture, customs, or religion. It’s often associated with independence and liberation but can be exclusive and insular. When reporting about this topic, it can help to be specific about the type of nationalism you are referring to and to give some explanation for the term, for example white nationalism, which focuses on the supposed superiority of white people over nonwhite people; or ethnonationalism, which defines nationalism in terms of a shared ethnicity.

naturalization

Naturalization is the conferring of the nationality of a state upon a person after birth. If seeking to promote the inclusion of naturalized citizens as full members of society, describing how someone obtained their citizenship should generally only be mentioned if necessary to the story, as it can “other” them in the eyes of the audience.

nonimmigrant visa

A nonimmigrant visa is granted to an individual who lawfully enters a host country for a temporary stay, such as tourism, business, temporary work, or study. Using “nonimmigrant” to describe a person’s visa status instead of their entire personhood is both more precise and more humanizing.

parolee

In the context of immigration, a “parolee” is a noncitizen granted a temporary stay in the United States for humanitarian or public interest purposes. On first mention, it’s helpful for clarity to specify the type of parole as “immigration parole.”

Last updated 08/05/22

Migration is key to so many stories we tell about the world and its peoples, which makes it a challenging topic to cover in a nuanced way. Conflicts can involve the highest stakes, borders are continually shifting, and legal and cultural definitions are frequently at odds. Certain terms related to migration have also taken on specific cultural meanings in the US, and to use them could inadvertently appear to be endorsing a particular viewpoint. 

This section of Language, Please aims to help journalists understand key immigration-related terms and the ways their use continues to evolve. This guidance is intended for US newsrooms and focuses on US policy.

This resource was informed by questions and discussions from our own newsrooms. It is a living document that will expand over time. It is not meant to be comprehensive or the definitive arbiter of language “rules” but instead aims to give context and inform thoughtful decision-making. Have a suggestion for an update, change, or addition? Please get in touch.

How to use: Browse the whole section or search for the term you need guidance on; click into any term for in-depth context, additional resources, and related terms. 

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Language, Please is a living resource and will be updated regularly. Have a question, suggestion, or addition? We’d love to hear from you.

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