FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Tuesday, March 29, 2016
Contact: Dennise Hernandez | Dartmouth.CoFIRED@Dartmouth.edu
Hanover, NH -- The Library of Congress announced they would discontinue using the terms “alien” and “illegal” in their subject headings to refer to undocumented immigrants, stating that the terms had become pejorative. Instead they will use “noncitizen” and “unauthorized immigrants.” The victory comes after two years of petitioning to the Library by Dartmouth College students, librarians, and faculty with the Dartmouth Coalition For Immigration Reform, Equality and DREAMers (CoFIRED), as well as support from the American Library Association. This will lead to national change in all libraries across the United States that follow the Library of Congress’ cataloging conventions.
“As a first year student at Dartmouth I decided that I wanted to explore my own identity as an undocumented immigrant but discovered that I had to access this information through a series of offensive terms used by libraries across the country. CoFIRED collectively agreed with the feelings that I felt and took action by working with our university’s librarians to correct this terminology. Nearly two years later, the Library of Congress has made a change in favor of our humanity which will have ripple effects on institutions across the country,” said Melissa Padilla, a Dartmouth senior from Winder, GA who is active with CoFIRED.
Dijo Padilla, “Recuerdo que un dia estaba haciendo mis tareas y me di cuenta en mi búsqueda que la palabra illegal alien (extranjero ilegal) todavia se usaba en el sistema. Yo pensé que en la universidad iba ser libre de esas frases racistas que escuchaba donde crecí. Le conte a mis amigos de CoFIRED sobre mis experiencias y fue entonces cuando decidimos hacer algo: quitar esa palabra del sistema de búsqueda de la biblioteca.”
Dennise Hernandez, CoDirector of CoFIRED and Dartmouth ‘17 from New York, NY added, “We call on both politicians and media outlets to follow the precedent set by the Library of Congress. It is way past time that we all recognize that referring to immigrants as “illegal” is an offensive, dehumanizing term and that there is no excuse to continue using it.”
The Dartmouth Coalition For Immigration Reform, Equality and DREAMers (CoFIRED) is a nonpartisan Dartmouth College student organization dedicated to advancing the rights of undocumented students at Dartmouth College and across the United States. You can find more about Dartmouth CoFIRED online at cofired.weebly.com