The administration of President Joe Biden is moving to adopt what it refers to as more “inclusive” language when talking about illegal immigrants. Rather than using the traditionally accepted term of “illegal alien” to describe this segment of the population, the administration is looking to replace these words with something that they feel is more inclusive.
New Language in Latest Immigration Bill
The new language will debut in Biden’s new immigration bill. This legislation is going to be revealed to Congress for the first time later this week. This bill will seek to eliminate the use of the words “illegal alien” in all US laws. Biden wants this term to be replaced with “noncitizens.”
History of the Term
The term “alien” has been the legally accepted word since the introduction of the 1798 Alien and Sedition Acts. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services acting Director Tracy Renaud officially issued a memo advocating for more inclusive language. In addition to replacing the term “illegal alien,” the memo also asked that the language of “integration or civic integration” be used instead of “assimilation.”
With these proposed changes, the new accepted words will be used in communications within the immigration agency and with the public. However, it will not be required by law.
Both Sides of the Issue
Supporters of changing the wording point to the fact that the word “alien” conjures up negative images of not being human, depriving them of the sense of humanity. However, others point out that the term “alien” has been used for years and is not offensive.