ICE will stop using the term “illegal alien” when referring to immigrants, according to two federal government memos distributed on Monday and obtained by ABC.
The memo said the term can be seen as “offensive or otherwise disparaging.” ICE, which stands for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as well as Customs and Border Protection, will discontinue the use of words “alien,” “illegal alien,” and “assimilation” from internal policy documents and communications with the public.
“In an effort to rebuild public trust and reshape our agency’s image, ICE will make efforts to avoid using terminology that might be perceived by others as offensive or otherwise disparaging,” ICE Acting Director Tae Johnson said in an email to employees announcing the change. A similar memo was sent out by the head of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Both documents order an immediate change to the agencies’ lexicons.
Immigrant advocates have long condemned the use of the terms as a dehumanizing effort to draw a distinction between immigrants without the means to explore legal avenues of migration. “Words matter, and we need to continue to take steps to make sure our policies and our language reflects the vital role of immigrants and immigration to our families, communities and economy,” said Peter Boogaard, Communications Director at FWD.us.
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