Joe Biden is implementing a new initiative to stop administration workers from using terms like ‘alien’ and ‘illegal’ when referencing immigrants in official communications.
Instead, they are being asked to use the term ‘noncitizen’ to describe immigrants.
Acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Tracy Renaud recently signed a memo to workers, according to a review by Axios, where she encouraged the ‘more inclusive language in the agency’s outreach efforts, internal documents and in overall communication with stakeholders, partners and the general public.’
The new language is a sharp turn from Donald Trump‘s hard-line policies and harsh criticism toward those crossing into the U.S. from the southern border. The former president and his team often referred to undocumented immigrants as ‘illegal aliens’ and classified border crossing as an ‘invasion.’
Other changes in jargon include using ‘undocumented noncitizen’ or ‘undocumented individual’ and using ‘integration or civic integration’ instead of ‘assimilation.’
Joe Biden’s administration implemented a new directive to stop immigration workers from using ‘alien’ and ‘illegal alien’ in official communication, and replace it with ‘non-citizen’
Acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Tracy Renaud (pictured) sent a memo to workers where she encouraged ‘more inclusive language in the agency’s outreach efforts, internal documents and in overall communication with stakeholders, partners and the general public’
Texas Democratic Representative Joaquín Castro, who introduced a similar proposal in 2015 – among others – say ‘alien’ is ‘dehumanizing.’
‘The term ‘alien’ is used as a dehumanizing slur, and should be removed from the language in our statutes. This change might seem symbolic, but it’s an important step to restore humanity after years of demonization,’ Castro said in a statement to NBC News last month.
This change also comes as Biden officially stopped Pentagon funds from being redirected to construction of Trump’s southern border wall.
On Day One, Biden signed as executive order halting construction of the wall – and is now making sure no new borders are put up as part of the former president’s 2016 promise to have a wall spanning across the whole U.S.-Mexico border.
The announcement also comes, however, as the White House says now is not the time for asylum seekers to come to the U.S. because they will be turned away.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said last month: ‘Due to the pandemic and the fact that we have not had the time as an administration to put in place a humane, comprehensive process for processing individuals who are coming to the border, now is not the time to come.’
‘The vast majority of people will be turned away,’ she added, despite Biden’s promise to allow open borders for asylum seekers.
Just one day after taking office, Biden made it clear he intended to end the use of ‘alien’ and ‘illegal immigrant’ as part of his broader immigration proposal, which also puts these individuals on an eight-year path to citizenship.
The path to citizenship only applies to those present in the U.S. before January 1, 2021 – an attempt to prevent immigration reform leading to new pressure on the southern border.
Using the term ‘alien’ to describe a person immigrating from one country to another dates back to the 1700s.
The official change is more of a symbolic move as part of a four-page plan that has the sign-off from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The California Democrat referred to the immigration legislation as ‘basic principles’ to work from and expand on.
She talked up the proposal after the administration released a four-page fact sheet on its plan, which would allow undocumented immigrants to apply for citizenship after an eight-year period.
It has not published the full text of a bill, with Pelosi’s description suggesting that it may be up to the House and the Senate to hash out details.
Major immigration changes are one area where the White House must secure cooperation from Congress to achieve results, even as Biden sets a new tone with a flurry of executive orders in a range of areas.
The principles outlined in the fact sheet would allow people who came here illegally to be on a ‘roadmap’ to citizenship. They could apply for green cards after five years if they pass criminal and security checks.
They would also have to have paid taxes.
After another three years, after additional checks and English and civics assessments, they could apply to become citizens.
The ability to apply for green cards and therefore citizenship would be immediate for the so-called Dreamers, the recipients of DACA status who arrived in the U.S. illegally as children.
The progressive move in jargon use comes as the White House went back on its promise to accept all asylum seekers at the border, claiming now is not the time to come to the U.S., because they will be turned away
‘Applicants must be physically present in the United States on or before January 1, 2021,’ according to the plan, which comes as another migrant caravan has been making its way toward the U.S.
The fact sheet says the bill ‘prohibits discrimination based on religion and limits presidential authority to issue future bans’ and increases diversity visas to 80,000 from 55,000.
Fhe bill ‘provides funding for training and continuing education to promote agent and officer safety and professionalism.’
‘We were also pleased to see the president come forward, the administration come forward with an immigration proposal,’ Pelosi told reporters Thursday.
‘We’re pleased,’ she continued, before referencing the legislative leaders who will have a key role. ‘And in the House Linda Sanchez will take a lead. Senator [Robert] Menendez in the Senate. It has the basic principles that we’ve talked about all along and we’ll see what the timetable is on that,’ she said.