The Department of Justice has ordered the reversal of an unofficial Obama Administration-era policy referring to illegal immigrants as “undocumented migrants,” according to a new report in The Washington Times.
The report likely doesn’t represent any significant change in how the DOJ treats border jumpers, but it does signal that Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ DOJ will be less accommodating to lawbreakers — and less likely to view illegal immigration as merely a social problem rather than a crime wave.
According to the Times, the DOJ told attorneys last week that they must refer to illegal immigrants as “illegal aliens,” the term used in the U.S. Code. Attorneys cannot replace “illegal” with “undocumented” so as to avoid stigmatizing border jumpers, a practice that has become popular in the pro-immigration movement.
The note, which went out to all of Sessions’ deputies, “was designed to clear up some confusion and to [help officials] be consistent in the way we draft our releases.”
The U.S. Code is one of the last remaining reference works that stipulates the use of “illegal immigrants.” Since the debate on immigration began, most stylebooks and guides suggest using “undocumented” as a way for journalists to subtly inject a political narrative into news stories.