According to memos sent to department heads at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Biden administration is ordering U.S. immigration enforcement agencies to stop using terms like “alien,” “illegal alien,” and “assimilation” when referring to immigrants.
The term “alien” will now be “noncitizen or migrant,” “illegal” will be “undocumented,” and “assimilation” will be “integration.”
“As the nation’s premier law enforcement agency, we set a tone and example for our country and partners across the world,” Troy Miller, CBP’s top official, said in his memo, as reported by The Washington Post. “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.”
The acting director of ICE, Tae Johnson, said in a separate memo, “In response to the vision set by the Administration, ICE will ensure agency communications use the preferred terminology and inclusive language.”
On January 18, The Washington Post reported that Biden would be proposing an “overhaul of immigration laws” on his first day in office, as part of a broader strategy to “solve problems of migration” by attacking “the root causes of what causes that migration.”
Biden wants to move the refugee and asylum systems “back to a more humane and orderly process,” according to a Biden official. But “it’s also been made clear that that isn’t a switch you flip overnight from the 19th to the 20th, especially when you’re working with agencies and processes that have been so gutted by the previous administration.”
It appears that part of this process includes a change in vocabulary.
“Immigrant advocates have long condemned the use of the terms as a dehumanizing effort to draw a distinction between immigrants without the means to explore legal avenues of migration,” reported ABC News.
“Words matter, and we need to continue to take steps to make sure our policies and our language reflects recognize the vital role of immigrants and immigration to our families, communities and economy,” said Peter Boogaard, Communications Director at FWD.us.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz slammed the move, describing it as “Orwellian.”
“Approaching his first 100 days in office, Biden has done more to enact speech codes, silence the media & cover up the truth than he has done to secure the border and end the [Biden border crisis],” Cruz tweeted.
Orwellian move from Joe Biden.
Approaching his first 100 days in office, Biden has done more to enact speech codes, silence the media & cover up the truth than he has done to secure the border and end the #BidenBorderCrisis https://t.co/GbULwjcM2g
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) April 19, 2021
Sen. Cruz is correct. This move by the Biden administration does nothing to change policy, and certainly nothing to change the lives of those affected — whether positively or negatively — by illegal immigration.
This is nothing other than a lexicographic version of “papering over the cracks,” engaging in the fantasy that changing our method of describing an act changes the nature of that act. At its very core, this is a lie, and a dangerous one at that.
This linguistic tactic is part of a broader strategy to achieve ideological ends through the control of our very language. There are countless examples of this tactic, including the redefinition of racism to align with the flawed notion of intersectionality, the demand that you prove fealty by chanting “Black Lives Matter” with no regard for its underlying premises or the radical organization it supports, or the assertion that we must “Believe Women” despite the obvious fact that men and women are equally capable of duplicity.
As I noted last year, “The Left understands that achieving full control of language will open the gateway to their subsequent goal of controlling our culture. The generational removal of methods of dissent or disagreement, alongside the subjective redefinition of words for political gain, will be difficult, if not impossible, to undo. For this reason, and this reason alone, the Left focuses on speech more than anything else. ‘Speech is violence’ justifies a violent reaction to speech, until the only speech that remains is deemed politically acceptable.”
“It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words.”
Ian Haworth is an Editor and Writer for The Daily Wire. Follow him on Twitter at @ighaworth.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.