President Joe Biden has banned federal immigration agencies from using terms such as “alien,” “assimilation,” and “illegal alien” in official documents and statements.
The Biden administration sent memos to immigration officials on Monday detailing the changes in a move that is partly a rebuke of President Donald Trump’s rhetoric on immigration issues, according to The Washington Post. The order is part of a larger effort to roll back Trump’s immigration policies.
The memo orders immigration officials to make changes in rhetoric such as substituting “noncitizen or migrant” for “alien,” “undocumented” for “illegal,” and “integration” for “assimilation.”
“In response to the vision set by the Administration, ICE will ensure agency communications use the preferred terminology and inclusive language,” Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) acting director Tae Johnson said in a memo.
The memos are also a clear message to immigration officials and officers who supported Trump that Biden is now in charge of immigration policy, and so immigration officials should behave accordingly, the Post reported.
“As the nation’s premier law enforcement agency, we set a tone and example for our country and partners across the world,” Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) head Troy Miller said in a memo. “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.”
Biden has shifted the United States’ approach to immigration from the Trump and Obama administrations, focusing on processing illegal immigrants and allowing them into the country rather than deporting and blocking illegal immigrants.
Since Biden was elected, an unprecedented number of illegal immigrants have surged toward the U.S. southern border in hopes of gaining entry to the U.S. Many of those coming directly cite Biden’s election as a primary factor in their decision to make the trek. The surge has overwhelmed immigration facilities as Biden’s administration has resorted to buying hotel rooms for illegal migrants and transferring thousands of children to temporary shelters run by the Department of Health and Human Services. As The Daily Wire reported:
The number of migrant children in U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody has fallen sharply, according to the Biden administration, thanks to efforts to transfer control of unaccompanied minors from border detention facilities to temporary shelters operated by the Department of Health and Human Services — not because of a drop in the number of migrants.
At one point, CBP had custody of nearly 6,000 unaccompanied minor children who crossed the United States-Mexico border without parents or relatives. They were either captured or presented themselves to border patrol agents seeking asylum. Now, CNN reports, CBP has just 3,400 children in border detention facilities, with the rest having transferred to one of the dozens of temporary holding facilities across the country.
Biden referred to the situation at the border as a “crisis” in remarks Saturday, a marked shift in the language of his administration as Democrats have largely avoided using the term to describe the U.S. southern border. The White House downplayed Biden’s remarks Monday, claiming that the president’s use of “crisis” did not reflect a change in the administration’s position on the border.
“No, there is no change in position. Children coming to our border seeking refuge from violence, economic hardships and other dire circumstances is not a crisis,” a White House official told CNN.