The Associated Press has similarly admonished reporters for using "illegal" as a descriptor for immigrants. The wire service's 2013 style guide, instead, was updated to read: "Except in direct quotes essential to the story, use illegal only to refer to an action, not a person: illegal immigration, but not illegal immigrant. Acceptable variations include living in or entering a country illegally or without legal permission."

But as Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texaspointed out, "illegal alien" is the term used under federal law. Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions specifically directed his Justice Department not to use terms other than "illegal alien," which he said was based in U.S. code.
“The word ‘undocumented’ is not based in US code and should not be used to describe someone’s illegal presence in the country,” he reportedly said in an agency-wide email.