Posted on January 29, 2021

ICE Orders Agents to Stop Using ‘Illegal Alien’

Stephen Dinan, Washington Times, January 28, 2021

With President Biden in control, ICE has moved to police its agents’ words, telling them the terms “alien” and “illegal alien” may no longer be used in any documents.

Instead, agents have been ordered to use “undocumented” — as in “undocumented noncitizen” or “undocumented individual.”

David Shaw, acting assistant director of domestic operations at Homeland Security Investigations, said in a memo that the changes were “an effort to align with current guidance and to ensure consistency in reporting.” His order applies to all official documents, memos and even emails.

“Migrant” and “refugee” are still allowed, as is “seasonal worker” and “detainee.” But agents were told not to refer to the crime of sneaking illegal immigrants into the country as “alien smuggling.” The new approved term is “human smuggling.”

And the word “asylee” is gone, in favor of “asylum seeker.”

“These changes should be implemented immediately in all products and correspondence,” Mr. Shaw said in his new memo, which was reviewed by The Washington Times. HSI is the criminal arm of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

ICE veterans called the changes stunning and Rosemary Jenks, vice president at NumbersUSA, which advocates for stricter immigration limits, said it suggested misplaced priorities.

“I would think HSI would have more important things to do than this absurd effort to remove legal language from their vocabulary,” she said. {snip}

The new directive stands in contrast to federal law, which repeatedly uses the term “alien.” Title 8 of the U.S. code is actually named “Aliens and Nationality.”


Mr. Biden, in his immigration plan last week, proposed changing law to delete references to “alien” and substitute “noncitizen.”


Deleting that term, and forbidding words like “illegal” from being used in the context of conversations or communications about immigration, have been top goals for immigration activists for years.