Under guidance from the Biden administration, members of Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have been instructed to refrain from using “offensive” language like “illegal alien” or “assimilation” to describe migrants.
U.S. Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott, however, announced that as long as the legal term for foreign nationals remains in federal immigration statutes, he cannot endorse the new policy on using “inclusive language” instead of legal terms, Breitbart reported.
On April 19, the Biden administration’s new policy on acceptable vocabulary was issued in a memo sent to CBP and ICE employees from senior officials within those two enforcement agencies, The Hill reported.
The memo stated that the term “illegal alien” should be avoided and replaced with the term “undocumented non-citizen,” and likewise, “assimilation” should be replaced with “civic integration,” among other examples and variations on those terms.
In the memo from Troy Miller, who is essentially the acting commissioner of CBP, he wrote, “In response to the vision set by the Administration,” agents and employees should henceforth use “preferred terminology and inclusive language” in all external and internal communications — with an exception that acknowledged the legal and statutory nature of the now-banned terms.
“As needed and appropriate, CBP may use applicable terms defined in the Immigration Nationality Act in legal or operational documents, including when completing required forms, particularly where legally required or necessary to ensure the procedural rights of those whom CBP encounters,” Miller wrote.
“I cannot endorse it”
That did not sit well with Border Patrol Chief Scott, who wrote a memo of his own to send back to Miller, according to Breitbart, which claimed to have obtained a copy of Scott’s response from an anonymous law enforcement official.
In Scott’s memo, which appears to be dated three days prior to Miller’s distributed memo, Scott noted his “official nonconcurrence” with the new policy and wrote, “I will not undermine this effort; however, I cannot endorse it.”
“The U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) is and must remain an apolitical federal law enforcement agency,” he explained. “Over the years, many outside forces on both extremes of the political spectrum have intentionally, or unintentionally politicized our agency and our mission.”
“Despite every attempt by USBP leadership to ensure that all official messaging remained consistent with law, fact, and evidence, there is no doubt that the reputation of the USBP has suffered because of the many outside voices,” Scott continued. “Mandating the use of terms which are inconsistent with law has the potential to further erode public trust in our government institutions.”
Terms must change legally first
The chief further expressed his concern on the impact this new policy would have on the morale of his agents and employees, and concluded by noting that he “respectfully recommend” that implementation of the terminology changes be delayed until the passage and enactment of President Biden’s proposed U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, which would legally and properly change the terms in question within the immigration statutes themselves.
Obviously, Scott’s rebuttal to the new policy was ignored by Miller and the policy was implemented as intended. It remains to be seen if Scott will face any repercussions for pushing back on the policy.