AP style on ‘Dreamers’

by John Daniszewski, vice president for standards on Sept. 6, 2017

With the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in the news, members of the public, TV commentators and politicians are commonly referring to the program’s beneficiaries as “Dreamers.”
This is a framing that tends to elicit positive feelings for the young beneficiaries and their quest for legal protection to live in the United States. 

AP policy is to use “Dreamers” only in direct quotes or with quote marks for the purpose of explaining the term, such as, “They are commonly referred to as ‘Dreamers,’ based on never-passed proposals in Congress called the DREAM Act that would have provided similar protections for young immigrants.” 

Here is the current AP Stylebook guidance:

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program
A program implemented during former President Barack Obama’s administration that allows young immigrants living in the country illegally who were brought here as children to remain in the U.S. It does not convey legal status but conveys temporary protection from deportation and permission to legally work.

Use the acronym DACA sparingly and only on second reference.

Use the term “Dreamer” to describe DACA recipients only in direct quotes or with quote marks for the purpose of explaining the term, such as: They are commonly referred to as “Dreamers,” based on never-passed proposals in Congress called the DREAM Act that would have provided similar protections for young immigrants.

The DREAM Act — Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors — was a federal proposal that offered many of the same protections as DACA but was never approved in Congress. Do not describe DACA as an executive action; it is an administrative program.

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., accompanied by members of House and Senate Democrats against President Trump's decision to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative, speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Sept. 6, 2017. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

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