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Will the New York Times Stop Using the term “Illegal Immigrant?”
Will the New York Times Stop Using the term “Illegal Immigrant?”

By William Gantt Pierce

April 22, 2013

New York City, NY – On Tuesday, April 23rd, Cesar Chavez’s son and immigration activist, Fernando Chavez, along with Jose Antonio Vargas, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and co-founder of Define American, will be joined by activists and members of,, and the Applied Research Center's Drop the I-Word campaign to deliver over 70,000 signatures to the New York Times in Manhattan, urging the newspaper to stop using the word “illegal” when referring to people living in the United States who have overstayed a visa or are undocumented.


Helen Chavez, the widow of Cesar Chavez, started her petition on’s online petition platform,, urging Jill Abramson, executive editor of the New York Times, to stand on the right side of history and stop using ethnic and racial stereotypes when referring to undocumented immigrants. Additional signatures were collected through a collaborative effort by ARC's Drop the I-Word campaign, Define American,


Fernando Chavez states, “The use of the term [illegal immigrant] is dehumanizing and very offensive to the undocumented individuals in the United States. It is unfortunate that such a well-respected and read publication refuses to stop publishing the offensive language. We hope that the New York Times will realize the harmful nature of such language and immediately stop using the term in their paper.”


If Chavez and his colleagues are successful in their endeavors with the New York Times, he feels as though it will bring about yet another victory for the immigrant community and will further allow for positive strides to be made in immigration reform. Further Chavez added that, “on the eve of immigration reform, we are very excited about the prospects of this milestone for an estimated 11 million people here in the United States. This year will prove to be a dream come true for so many immigrants and will allow them to live the American dream just like me and you.”


View the petition at:


More information is expected to be released following the New York Times meeting on April 23, 2013.


About Fernando Chavez


The eldest son of celebrated civil rights leader and labor activist, Cesar E. Chavez, Fernando Chavez is founder of Chavez Law Group and Chavez Immigration Firm. With over 25 years of experience practicing law before state and federal courts, Fernando is one of the country's most successful trial attorneys. He has served as lead counsel in numerous individual and class action cases, resulting in multi-million dollar awards. Additionally, Fernando serves as a consulting attorney to the Mexican Consulate in both San Jose, California and Los Angeles, California.


A second-generation American, Fernando's father, Cesar Chavez (1927-1993), was a labor leader and civil rights activist who became co-founder of what would become the United Farm Workers Union. As a young boy, Fernando would watch his father as he accompanied him to marches, boycotts, and during fasts. Over the years, Fernando saw firsthand how the work of his father and the UFW greatly improved and changed the life of migrant farm workers. Through his legal practice and his constant efforts with the UFW, Fernando has been committed to bringing positive social change for many Latinos across the country.


For more information, please visit




About Chavez Immigration Firm


Chavez Immigration Firm is a California-based national immigration firm. It specializes in assisting those who are seeking United States Citizenship, legal permanent resident status, or petitioning the United States government to enter the United States, as well as advocating for those who are facing deportation. For more information, please visit




To learn more about this release or information contained within this release, please contact:


Angelina West, Media Relations

111 East Main Street

Dothan, AL 36301

Office: (334) 794-8000

Fax: (334) 699-6885

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