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IAEA is a terrible name for Obama's immigration executive order

Your acronym is bad. And you should feel bad.
Your acronym is bad. And you should feel bad.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

In advance of President Obama's major immigration speech tonight, reports are trickling out about what he's going to announce. (Here's our explainer on Obama's plan.) But Elise Foley of the Huffington Post might have been the first to point out the name of the new program:

That is a terrible acronym. Here are some reasons why:

  1. There is already a thing called the IAEA: the International Atomic Energy Agency. You might have heard of it. Massive Google-search confusion aside, "nuclear" is probably not a word Obama wants to associate with one of the most controversial moves of his presidency.
  2. IAEA, like any acronym that is all vowel, is impossible to pronounce.
  3. Obama's last immigration relief program was called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. That sounded like a mouthful. But when the young unauthorized immigrants who benefited from the program started spreading the word, they came up with the term "DACAmented" — a play on "documented," since they didn't formally have legal status but did have DACA. That's awesome! And the White House should have seen how well that worked out, and come up with another acronym that lent itself to similarly catchy sloganeering.
  4. In English, when you do manage to sound it out, IAEA sounds like "Aieeee!" That's bad enough. But...
  5.'s even worse in Spanish. In Spanish, it sounds like allí — which means "there." Which is catastrophically bad as the name of a program whose entire point is to keep immigrants here.

If you're interested in the actual policy substance of Obama's plan, check out our guide.

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