The Biden administration is urging officials to use more inclusive terms for immigrants, including replacing the word "alien" with "noncitizen," Axios has learned.
Why it matters: The Trump administration referred to unauthorized immigrants as "illegal aliens," and described border crossings as an "invasion." The new terms point to President Biden's more welcoming immigration stance overall.
- According to an email sent Tuesday to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officials, reviewed by Axios, acting Director Tracy Renaud recently signed a memo encouraging the "more inclusive language in the agency's outreach efforts, internal documents and in overall communication with stakeholders, partners and the general public."
- A DHS spokesperson did not immediately respond to calls and an email seeking comment.
Between the lines: Other changes include using "undocumented noncitizen," or "undocumented individual," rather than "illegal alien," and "integration or civic integration" instead of "assimilation."
- Immigration advocates will likely applaud the changes.
- Hardliners will not.
- "By statute, 'alien' literally means a person not a U.S. citizen or national. That is not offensive, and neither is 'assimilation,'" said Robert Law, a former Trump administration official now working at the restrictionist Center for Immigration Studies.