Biden Administration: Stop Using ‘Alien’ and Start Using ‘Noncitizen’

Feb 17, 2021
5:21 PM

President Joe Biden walks to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Friday, February 5, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

A Tuesday story by Axios said that the Biden administration is telling government officials to stop using the word “alien” and start using the word “noncitizen.”

“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,'” Stef W. Kight of Axios wrote.

“Other changes include using ‘undocumented noncitizen’ or ‘undocumented individual’ rather than ‘illegal alien’ and ‘integration or civic integration’ instead of ‘assimilation,'” Kight noted.

The proposed changes are significant, considering that there has been a push over the years to use terms that many see as the dehumanization of migrants. In 2013, the Associated Press chose to stop using the term “illegal immigrant.”

Apparently, the Tuesday email from Renaud at USCIS has yet to apply to agencies like U.S Customs and Border Protection, which used the term “illegal aliens” at least  3 times in February 16 media releases:

A search at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) confirms that the word “aliens” has no problem appearing more than 3,000 times:

Still, the move will be applauded by the immigrant rights community. Words matter. And so do perceptions.