Tags: Homeland Security | Immigration | Trump Administration | alien | foreign national | uscis | language

Report: USCIS Might Change 'Foreign National' to 'Alien'

francis cissna speaks during a white house daily press briefing
USCIS Director L. Francis Cissna (Alex Brandon/AP)

By    |   Thursday, 26 September 2019 03:27 PM

Officials at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services want to stop using the term "foreign national" in favor of the word "alien" in its agency policy manual, BuzzFeed News reports.
A USCIS spokesperson said in a statement the agency "proposes to use the legal term in the Immigration and Nationality Act."

"It is important that our agency, which administers our nation's lawful immigration system, align our internal materials with the INA," they added. "Under the INA, the term 'alien' means 'any person not a citizen or national of the United States.'"

Although the term "alien" is used is the U.S. Code and in court rulings, it has come under fire as being dehumanizing. Immigration advocates are also concerned the agency's mission statement no longer includes the phrase "a nation of immigrants," after it was removed in 2018.

"Like the decision to remove the phrase 'nation of immigrants' from USCIS's motto, this is yet another step in the administration's effort to make our legal immigration system unfriendly and inaccessible," Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, a policy analyst for the American Immigration Council, told BuzzFeed News. "At a time when USCIS faces historic and still-growing backlogs, it's disturbing that the agency is using its limited resources to carry out what appears to be an anti-immigrant messaging campaign."

Ur Jaddou, formerly the USCIS's chief counsel, told BuzzFeed that replacing the words will be a time-consuming process.

"Lawyers should certainly review it to make sure it is accurate. That will take time and resources," she said, adding, "Taking the time to change it back — when I haven't heard that the use of the less offensive term has created issues — makes me wonder about the actual motive to return to a term that many find offensive."

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In its agency policy manual, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services wants to stop using the term "foreign national" in favor of the word "alien," according to BuzzFeed News.
alien, foreign national, uscis, language, terminology
Thursday, 26 September 2019 03:27 PM
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