The Department of Homeland Security, alongside the Immigration and Customs Enforcement department, have been ‘urged’ by the Biden administration to start using more inclusive terminology when referencing illegal immigrants, as the President looks to focus on the use of language instead of solving the crisis at the southern border.
This move comes as the new administrations look to up their broader effort to change the language that is used and reported in the immigration process, whilst CNN has stopped reporting on border separation; changing their language from ‘kids in cages’ to ‘children in overflow facilities’, as an attempt to humanize the situation.
Quite simply, what’s the point?
Does the language that government officials use actually matter in a larger context when you have people attempting to enter the United States illegally on a daily basis, many of whom are able to get away with it?
Does the language that government officials use actually matter when you have large numbers of illegal immigrations who are caught by federal authorities being released into American communities without a Covid test, as the pandemic claims thousands of American lives a day?
The ordinary, working American does not care about the terminology used to describe illegal immigrants, but this administration does, and would rather combat against words used than find a solution to the ongoing crisis on the border with Mexico.
Tracey Renaud, the Acting Director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, has recently signed a memo stating the language used by the service will align with the ‘administration’s guidance on the federal government’s use of immigration terminology’.
This memo also urges all federal employees at the USCIS to stop using the word ‘alien’, replacing it with the more favorable term ‘noncitizen’.
The memo also orders all officials to use the phrases ‘undocumented individual’ or ‘undocumented noncitizen’ over the term ‘illegal alien’, whilst recommending that the term ‘assimilation’ is replaced with the term ‘integration’.
Complete immigration reforms
The shift in language is a part of this administration’s crackdown on the previous language that was allowed by the former administration, and, as per a Buzzfeed report, the language used ICE officials, who have been demonized by the Democrats over the last 5 years, has also started to shift.
ICE officials have started to use the term ‘noncitizen’ over ‘illegal alien’ when conducting press interviews regarding the southern border crisis, whilst David Pekoske, the Acting DHS Secretary at the time, was also recorded using the new terms set out by the administration.
President Joe Biden is now due to propose a new bill that will reform immigration language used in official documents, whilst also introducing numerous other immigration reforms.
The Biden transition team released information regarding this bill before the inauguration of the President, stating this bill would recognize America as ‘the country of immigrants’, whilst stating that it would remove the term ‘alien’ from all official documentation.
A spokesperson for the USCIS had previously stated that the term ‘alien’ is used to refer to those who are ‘not a citizen or national of the United States’.