[COLUMN] No more ‘illegal aliens’ under Biden administration

UNDER the Biden Administration, words matter. Using incorrect or offensive terminology could affect people’s feelings and self-esteem. With that in mind, on April 19, 2021, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a memo on “Updated Terminology for CBP Communications and Materials.”

That memo provides a list of “preferred use of immigration terminology within the federal government,” which would apply to all CBP communications, such as “agency outreach efforts, internal documents, and overall communications with stakeholders, partners and the general public.” As a memo notes, “The way we communicate and conduct our agency’s business must reflect the inherent professionalism of the men and women [members] of CBP. 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 confirm that dignity to those in our custody.”
Although people apprehended by CBP or ICE could still be taken into custody and removed, they will now be referred to under different terminology. The new terminology includes:

If you were previously an illegal alien, and are now an undocumented noncitizen, but still hope to legalize your status and integrate, you may want to consult with an immigration attorney, who can evaluate your situation and determine if there are options or avenues available for you to become a documented noncitizen. Just because you may now be known under a different name does not dispense with the requirement that you have to find ways to legalize your status.

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Michael J. Gurfinkel has been an attorney for over 40 years and is licensed, and an active member of the State Bars of California and New York. All immigration services are provided by, or under the supervision of, an active member of the State Bar of California. Each case is different, and results may depend on the facts of the particular case. The information and opinions contained herein (including testimonials, “Success Stories,” endorsements and re-enactments) are of a general nature, and are not intended to apply to any particular case, and do not constitute a prediction, warranty, guarantee or legal advice regarding the outcome of your legal matter. No attorney-client relationship is, or shall be, established with any reader.

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