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President Biden calls influx of refugees and unaccompanied migrant children at the border a “crisis”

Immigration detention - Immigration

Over the weekend, President Joe Biden acknowledged that there is a “crisis” at the border.  “We’re going to increase the number [of refugees],” he told reporters. “The problem was that the refugee part was working on the crisis that ended up on the border with young people. We couldn’t do two things at once. But now we are going to increase the number,” Biden said. 

Biden’s statements come just days after the White House ordered officials in Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to stop using several terms such as “alien”, “illegal alien” and “assimilation.”

Memos sent by Tae Johnson, the acting director of ICE, and Troy Miller, the acting director of CBP, were distributed to leading figures in both agencies. “As the nation’s premier law enforcement agency, we set a tone and example for our country and partners across the world,” CBP official Troy Miller said in his memo. “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 confer that dignity to those in our custody.” ICE acting director Tae Johnson communicated a similar message in a separate memo, saying, “In response to the vision set by the Administration, ICE will ensure agency communications use the preferred terminology and inclusive language.”

Under current law, an illegal alien is anyone (1) whose most recent entry into the United States was without inspection, or (2) whose most recent admission to the United States was as a nonimmigrant and—(A) whose period of authorized stay as a nonimmigrant expired, or (B) whose unlawful status was known to the Government, before the date of the commission of the crime for which the alien is convicted. Assimilation is the absorption and integration of people, ideas, or culture into a wider society or culture.

A Department of Homeland Security confirmed that a myriad of changes are being made to words that ICE and CBP can use. “Alien” will now be “non-citizen” or “migrant.” “Alienage” will be changed to “non-citizenship.” “Unaccompanied alien children” will be “non-citizen unaccompanied children.” “Undocumented alien” and “illegal alien” will be “undocumented non-citizen, undocumented individual or migrant.” “Assimilation” will be “integration or civil integration.” “Immigrant assimilation” will be “immigrant integration.”

President Joe Biden hinted at this kind of change in his first day in charge. “The policy of my Administration is to protect national and border security, address the humanitarian challenges at the southern border, and ensure public health and safety,” Biden said in an executive order. “We must also adhere to due process of law as we safeguard the dignity and well-being of all families and communities. My Administration will reset the policies and practices for enforcing civil immigration laws to align enforcement with these values and priorities,” he continued. 

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ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH

POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS

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