No More “Illegal Aliens” Under Biden Administration

No More “Illegal Aliens” Under Biden Administration

Under the Biden Administration, words matter.  Using incorrect or offensive terminology could affect people’s feelings and self-esteem.  With that in mind, on April 19, 2021, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a memo on “Updated Terminology for CBP Communications and Materials.”

That memo provides a list of “preferred use of immigration terminology within the federal government,” which would apply to all CBP communications, such as “agency outreach efforts, internal documents, and overall communications with stakeholders, partners and the general public.”  As a memo notes, “The way we communicate and conduct our agency’s business must reflect the inherent professionalism of the men and women [members]  of CBP.  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 confirm that dignity to those in our custody.”

Although people apprehended by CBP or ICE could still be taken into custody and removed, they will now be referred to under different terminology.  The new terminology includes:

Previous: New:
Alien noncitizen or migrant
Alienage non-citizenship
Undocumented alien undocumented noncitizen, undocumented individual, migrant
Illegal alien undocumented noncitizen, undocumented individual, migrant
Assimilation integration or civic integration
Immigrant assimilation immigrant integration

If you were previously an illegal alien, and are now an undocumented noncitizen, but still hope to legalize your status and integrate, you may want to consult with an immigration attorney, who can evaluate your situation and determine if there are options or avenues available for you to become a documented noncitizen.  Just because you may now be known under a different name does not dispense with the requirement that you have to find ways to legalize your status.



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