Government Immigration Politics

Federal Contractor Pushes DHS to Eliminate ‘Illegal Immigrant’ Term

A federal contractor with a history of receiving substantial federal funding is urging the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to adopt “inclusive language” by replacing terms like “illegal immigrant” with “undocumented noncitizen” and “riot” with “protest.” The RAND Corporation, which operates the Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center, produced a report on behalf of the DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. The report contends that the language used by the DHS is “insulting, demeaning, dehumanizing, offensive, embarrassing, or othering” and aims to make individuals feel “uncomfortable, marginalized, disrespected, or unsafe.”

The 84-page report calls for replacing the term “illegal immigrant” with “undocumented noncitizen” and suggests swapping “assimilation” with “civic integration.” Additionally, it proposes changing “unlawful entry” to “entry without inspection” or “undocumented entry.” House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mark Green criticized this language transformation as a “deceitful and Orwellian strategy.” He sees it as an attempt to divert attention from the DHS’s perceived failure in handling border security issues.

The report not only focuses on immigration language but also suggests modifying the use of “male” and “female” by adding “nonbinary, cisgender,” and “transgender.” It recommends replacing “riot” with “protest” and claims that certain terms, like “looter,” “trespasser,” “rioter,” and “jihadist,” have taken on a “racialized or racially charged aspect beyond what their legal or common definition might be.” The report contends that this leads to a “disparate impact” as these terms are mostly applied to individuals of a particular race.

Despite the report’s overt nods to left-wing ideology, it argues that using “person-centric and inclusive language” should not be seen as “woke” or a political issue. The RAND Corporation confirmed that it produced the report at the request of the DHS’s Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties to examine terminology in documents and procedures and recommend improvements.

Critics like Todd Bensman, a Senior National Security Fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies, argue that the proposed replacement terms are more demeaning than the ones they seek to replace. Green, on the other hand, believes it’s crucial to inform the American people about the actions of bureaucrats and hinted at potential congressional action to address the issue.

The report is a result of a renewed contract with the DHS, allowing the agency to order $495 million worth of studies and analysis over five years.

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