"Coincidentally, we had been expecting to send a memo to the staff soon, possibly this week," Phil Corbett, the Associate Managing Editor for Standards wrote in an email.
Public editor Margaret Sullivan noted in a blog post that their changes "will probably be more incremental" than the AP announcement but aim to "provide more nuance and options." She also noted that while she once came down on the side of "illegal immigrant" her stance has since shifted.
"My position on this has changed over the past several months. So many people find it offensive to refer to a person with an adjective like 'illegal' that I now favor the use of 'undocumented' or 'unauthorized' as alternatives," she wrote.
Jose Antonio Vargas, a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist and immigration reform activist who led the charge against the term within the last year, says he hopes other news agencies that haven't dropped the term, like the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and Reuters, will now follow the AP's example.
"The Associated Press got this right, no human being is illegal. This is a big victory for immigrants and advocates all over the country who have been urging the Associated Press to stop using this dehumanizing and hurtful term," he said.
"Now it's time for other news outlets to follow the AP's lead and end it for good."