The Biden administration has earned early criticism from many on the right for its relaxed policies related to the border and immigration.
Now, President Joe Biden is reportedly prohibiting federal law enforcement officers from using the words “illegal alien” and “assimilation.”
“A tone and example for our country”
A Washington Post article earlier this week noted that the new policy had been articulated in a series of memos submitted by Department of Homeland Security officials.
One senior Customs and Border Protection official was quoted as insisting that the department was “the nation’s premier law enforcement agency” and, as such, is responsible for setting “a tone and example for our country and partners around the world.”
Troy Miller went on to assert: “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.
“Preferred terminology and inclusive language”
Immigration and Customs Enforcement acting Director Tae Johnson expressed a similar sentiment in his own memo pledging to “ensure agency communications use the preferred terminology and inclusive language.”
The latest memos come on the heels of an Axios report confirming that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services acting Director Tracy Renaud has declared that the word “alien” should be replaced with “noncitizen.”
That decision was said to be part of an overall effort to foster inclusivity within the agency’s internal and external communications.
“Not a U.S. citizen or national”
Former Trump administration official Robert Law dismissed Renaud’s claims, however.
Law, who currently works at the Center for Immigration Studies, said that the term “alien” statutorily “means a person not a U.S. citizen or national,” declaring that the word “is not offensive, and neither is ‘assimilation.'”
Nevertheless, key figures in the Biden administration have a documented history of immigration-related rhetoric that falls outside of the mainstream.
In a 2019 interview, Biden himself said that ICE agents who arrest undocumented immigrations for anything less than a felony offense should be fired. For her part, Vice President Kamala Harris once compared ICE agents to Ku Klux Klan members.