Biden Bans ICE And Customs And Border Protection From Using ‘Illegal Aliens’ To Describe Migrants

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Biden Bans ICE And Customs And Border Protection From Using 'Illegal Aliens' To Describe Migrants
Biden Bans ICE And Customs And Border Protection From Using 'Illegal Aliens' To Describe Migrants

President Joe Biden’s administration may still be detaining undocumented immigrants at the southern border – but it will no longer be locking up illegal aliens, under a new policy circumscribing the language border officials can use.

Immigration enforcement officials will stop using the term ‘alien, ‘illegal aliens’ and ‘assimilation’ altogether, under a new memo from top Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection officials.

Instead, they will use language the administration says is more humanizing, even as the administration confronts a wave of attempted crossings at the southern border.

‘As the nation’s premier law enforcement agency, we set a tone and example for our country and partners across the world,’ wrote Troy Miller of CBP, in a memo obtained by the Washington Post.

Immigration enforcement agencies in the Biden Administration will no longer use the terms 'illegal alien' in their policy statements

Immigration enforcement agencies in the Biden Administration will no longer use the terms ‘illegal alien’ in their policy statements

‘We enforce our nation’s laws while also maintaining the dignity of every individual with whom we interact. The words we use matter and will serve to further confer that dignity to those in our custody.’

Instead of ‘assimilation,’ authorities will use ‘integration.’ The word of choice for those without legal authorization will be ‘undocumented’ – a term long preferred by immigration advocates.

Miller is the Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Commissioner for CBP, and oversees the organization’s 60,000 employees.

The head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement – an agency some critics called for banning during the Trump administration – also issued a memo directing changes.

‘In response to the vision set by the Administration, ICE will ensure agency communications use the preferred terminology and inclusive language.’ said Tae Johnson wrote in a memo.

The agencies no longer want employees to refer to 'illegal aliens' when describing people who cross the border without documentation. Here, an immigrant child glances towards human trafficker while being smuggled into the United States from Mexico on April 15, 2021 in Roma, Texas

The agencies no longer want employees to refer to ‘illegal aliens’ when describing people who cross the border without documentation. Here, an immigrant child glances towards human trafficker while being smuggled into the United States from Mexico on April 15, 2021 in Roma, Texas

A July 2020 executive order signed by President Donald Trump was named 'Excluding Illegal Aliens' from congressional apportionment in its title

A July 2020 executive order signed by President Donald Trump was named ‘Excluding Illegal Aliens’ from congressional apportionment in its title

President Donald Trump attends a campaign rally at The Defense Contractor Complex on August 18, 2020 in Yuma, Arizona. He regularly appeared with border agents while in office

President Donald Trump attends a campaign rally at The Defense Contractor Complex on August 18, 2020 in Yuma, Arizona. He regularly appeared with border agents while in office

The term ‘alien’ has occurred in official government documents for years.

A July 2020 Trump Administration executive order was titled ‘Excluding Illegal Aliens From the Apportionment Base Following the 2020 Census,’ and was designed to exclude them from the count for Congress.

One recent tweet by Miller of CBP sought to put border agents who first interact with would-be migrants crossing the border in a better light.

‘Border Patrol agents have RESCUED more than 4,600 individuals along the Southwest border in the last six months. @CBP agents and officers stand ready to provide lifesaving assistance to all who need it,’ he wrote. He also retweeted a border agent in San Diego who sent out an image of agents who ‘rescued an injured & lost migrant woman Sunday.’

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is among a small group of House Democrats who called to ‘abolish ICE’ in 2018.

The change in tone comes after Biden reversed course after saying a 15,000 person cap on refugees for the current fiscal year was justified. Biden soon afterward said more refugees would be allowed, and the White House on Monday denied a flip flop.

The Biden has made clear that it places weight on the words officials from Biden on down use to describe immigration. When the president deviated from his homeland chief over the weekend and mentioned an immigration ‘crisis,’ the White House clarified there was no change in policy.

 

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