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Ethical GuidelinesBorderless Magazine’s Guide to Telling Better (and More Ethical) Immigration Stories

  • Transparency is key.
  • Immigration laws are complex and change frequently.
  • Establish a human connection.
  • Show up and build relationships with your sources.
  • Don’t force people to share or prove their trauma.
  • Let the interviewee choose a safe place for the interview.
  • Be aware of power dynamics.
  • Ask for consent throughout the reporting.
  • Ask what they want to share.
  • Empower sources to tell their story, their way.
  • Humanize stories.
  • Move past policy jargon.
  • Cut predatory and dehumanizing descriptors.
  • Don’t specify a person’s immigration status unless necessary.
  • Avoid “the second wound.”

These guidelines were created with the input and help of many reporters. We’d especially like to thank Northwestern University’s Social Justice News Nexus and City Bureau for their support in crafting these guidelines.

Download the Ethical Guide to share in your newsroom.

Download Ethics Guide

Interested in having the Borderless team give a training on ethical immigration reporting at your outlet or school? Contact us at