Watch–Alejandro Mayorkas: Banning DHS from Using ‘Illegal Alien’ Term Respects ‘Dignity of the Individual’


Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is defending orders he issued to all agency officials that ban them from using the legal term “illegal alien,” saying the federal government must respect “the dignity of the individual” crossing the nation’s borders.

During an interview late last week at the Aspen Security Forum in Aspen, Colorado, Mayorkas bragged about orders he issued in early 2021 that banned DHS officials from using the terms “illegal alien,” “alien,” and “assimilation” in reference to federal immigration law.

Instead, Mayorkas has required DHS officials to use “more inclusive language” when referring to illegal immigration, such as terms like “noncitizen,” “undocumented noncitizen,” and “integration.”

Mayorkas said the policy is about respecting border crossers.

“In the Department of Homeland Security, I issued a memo very early on that we would not use the term ‘illegal alien’ when speaking of these individuals, we use the term ‘noncitizen,'” Mayorkas said at the Aspen Security Forum. “And that speaks to the importance of respecting the dignity of the individual.”

Democrats in Congress have sought to codify the policy — filing legislation in 2021 that would strip from federal immigration law all references to the term “alien” and “illegal alien.”

The term “alien” is regularly used as a legal definition to describe a foreign national in the United States. The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) codified the term into law and defines it as “any person not a citizen or national of the United States.”

American congresswoman Barbara Jordan (1936 - 1996) from Texas, on the House Judiciary Committee during a hearing on the impeachment of President Richard Nixon, Washingon D.C., July 1974. Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Rep. Barbara Jordan (1936 – 1996) from Texas, during a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee  on the impeachment of President Richard Nixon, Washingon, DC, July 1974. (Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Despite objections from the Biden administration over the terms “illegal alien” and “assimilation,” the terminology was readily used by civil rights icon Rep. Barbara Jordan (D-TX) who advocated for an end to illegal immigration and for legal immigration reductions to boost the quality of life for America’s poor.

In a 1995 op-ed for the New York Times, for instance, Jordan blasted “policies that permit the continued entry of hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens and blur distinctions between what is legal and beneficial and what is illegal and harmful.”

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at Follow him on Twitter here


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