The U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of California has identified a large-scale methamphetamine trafficking and illegal firearm carrying illegal alien as an “undocumented alien,” instead of the legal and official term “illegal alien” in their official press release on the case. Perhaps more concerning is their choice to identify a federal criminal charge in order to be more politically-correct. Press releases from the U.S. Attorney’s Office are the official historical record.
The issue surfaced in a September 19, 2013 press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Sacramento, California. An illegal alien was arrested with an extremely large amount of methamphetamine and several firearms.
One of the official federal charges describes him as an “illegal alien in possession of a firearm. “However, the person writing the press release in the U.S. Attorney’s Office decided to identify the charge thusly: “… a federal grand jury returned a two-count indictment today charging Jorge Rodriguez, of Goshen, with being an undocumented alien in possession of a firearm and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.”
My own experiences working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and subsequently testifying in a number of trials for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, have shown me that the press personnel do the bidding of the prosecuting assistant U.S. attorney and that any and all language choices are dictated by that authority.
Breitbart News tracked down the public information officer for the specific U.S. Attorney’s Office, Lauren Horwood, and she spoke with me quite candidly:
“In the court documents they say illegal alien, that’s the legal term. But sometimes when we write press releases, we choose to soften the language a bit,” said Horwood.
Horwood’s honesty about improperly identifying a federal criminal charge in documents that constitute the official record may seem shocking, but most of the U.S. Attorney’s Office districts simply refuse to include the immigration status of illegal aliens in their press releases. Many refuse to answer the question when they are called by Breitbart News. Although some do include the accurate and official terms in their releases, the vast majority of cases require purchasing court documents in order to determine if an illegal alien was involved in crimes described in U.S. Attorney’s Office press releases. This is the first instance I know of where an actual federal charge has been misidentified in my years of covering such issues.