ICE, CBP Drop 'Illegal Alien' and 'Assimilation' Terminology Migrants, mostly from Central America, board a van which will take them to a processing center, on May 16, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (PAUL RATJE/AFP via Getty Images)
By Theodore Bunker | Monday, 19 April 2021 12:56 PM
As an unprecedented illegal immigration crisis continues unabated at the border, the Biden administration is reportedly telling the agencies on the front lines to stop using terms such as "illegal alien" and "assimilation."
Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection heads circulated memos on Monday instructing personnel on the changes, according to The Washington Post. Instead of "alien," employees will use "noncitizen or migrant," while "illegal" is replaced with "undocumented," "alienage" with "noncitizenship," "unaccompanied alien children" with "unaccompanied noncitizen children," and "assimilation" with "integration." Along the same lines, "immigrant assimilation" will become "immigrant integration" and "refugee assimilation" will be "refugee integration."
"As needed and appropriate, CBP may use applicable terms defined in the Immigration Nationality Act in legal or operational documents, including when completing required forms, particularly where legally required or necessary to ensure the procedural rights of those whom CBP encounters," the CBP memo states.
The move is part of President Joe Biden’s efforts to create a more "human" immigration system, according to the memo.
"As the nation’s premier law enforcement agency, we set a tone and example for our country and partners across the world," CBP head Troy Miller said in the memo, according to 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."
Acting director of ICE Tae Johnson said in a separate memo that the "preferred terminology and inclusive language" was being adopted due to the "vision" espoused by the Biden administration.
"As DHS’s lead investigative agency, and as an essential steward of a more secure and humane immigration system, ICE will set a tone and example for our country for years," he added. "The way that we choose to communicate is critical to enforcing our nation’s laws while respecting the humanity and dignity of those individuals with whom we interact."
Biden said on Monday that the U.S. will raise the limit on the number of refugees the country will accept this year in response to criticism of the cap, which was set by former President Donald Trump but maintained by Biden.
"We’re going to increase the number [of refugees]," the president told reporters, according to Fox News. "The problem was that the refugee part was working on the crisis that ended up on the border with young people. We couldn’t do two things at once. But now we are going to increase the number."