Biden Admin Urges DHS To Drop “Illegal Alien” Term — Suggests Use Of ‘Non Citizen;’ ‘Undocumented’ Instead

The administration of Democratic President Joe Biden is urging the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to drop the use of phrases like “illegal alien” and noted that they should use instead “more inclusive” terms in referring to individuals those illegally staying in the country.

Reports said this is in line with the Biden administration’s “broader effort” to change its language and stance on immigration after the Democratic chief executive earlier reversed a number of immigration policies implemented by the administration of former president Donald Trump. 

Acting US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Director Tracy Renaud signed the said memo and USCIS noted that the move “aligns our language practices with the administration’s guidance on the federal government’s use of immigration terminology.”

The February 12 memo, first reported by Axios, urged officials to “stop referring” to people as “alien,” and use terminologies like “noncitizen,” instead.

The same memo also suggested that officials should start  using “undocumented individual” or “undocumented noncitizen” rather than the usual reference of “illegal alien.” 

In a similar way, the guideline also reportedly recommended the use of  “integration” to society rather than mere “assimilation.”

“This change is designed to encourage more inclusive language in the agency’s outreach efforts, internal documents and in overall communication with stakeholders, partners, and the general public,” USCIS spokesman Joe Sowers was quoted as saying.

Similarly, a new immigration reform bill being pushed by the White House, along with other changes to the country’s immigration policies, also seeks to replace such terminologies in US immigration laws altogether. 

Biden’s transition team said earlier that the proposal would replace the term “alien” with “noncitizen” in immigration laws. 

BuzzFeed News reported earlier that even officials of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have started dropping the term “illegal alien” and replacing the reference to “noncitizen” instead.

Meanwhile, a former USCIS spokesperson earlier said the use of the term “alien” is aligned with the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

Under the INA, the term ‘alien’ means ‘any person not a citizen or national of the United States.

The White House also affirmed President Biden’s support for creating a pathway to citizenship for at least 11 million illegal immigrants in the country — as Democrats in Congress are expected to unveil a sweeping immigration proposal as soon as this week.

“There certainly is part of the proposal that the president outlined and proposed on Day One that is an earned pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the country,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday.

Steeve Strange

Steeve is the CEO & Co-Founder of The Scoop.