By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis scoffed at President Biden’s order that federal agencies can no longer use the phrase “illegal alien” when describing immigrants who are not in the United States legally.
The phrase, which is used throughout U.S. immigration law, is not the issue, Lummis said. Rather, it’s the calamity at the U.S. – Mexico border, where tens of thousands of migrants have illegally entered the United States with the change of presidential administrations.
“While President Biden should be focused on the crisis happening at our southern border, it’s disappointing to see him instead focusing on semantics,” Abegail Cave, a spokesperson for Lummis, told Cowboy State Daily. “Immigrants who come across our border illegally are, in fact, illegal immigrants.”
The president earlier this week directed all U.S. immigration divisions to stop using the term “illegal alien” and to instead use the phrase “undocumented noncitizen”.
“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 confer that dignity to those in our custody,” the memo reads.
Like Lummis, Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney said the issue is the crisis at the border, not terminology.
“People who attempt to enter the country illegally are not simply non-citizens,” Cheney said. “[Biden and Harris’] decision to embrace open borders has resulted in a humanitarian, public health and national security crisis. Migrants who unlawfully enter our country are, by definition, illegal aliens.
“President Biden needs to reverse course and put in place the policies that will secure our border and put an end to the surge of illegal immigration,” she added.
While Sen. John Barrasso did not respond to Cowboy State Daily’s request for a comment, he has previously criticized the president’s approach to immigration.
“It’s not just one crisis: it’s a double crisis. It’s a national security crisis as well as a humanitarian crisis,” the senator said on the Senate floor earlier this month. “We spoke to the Border Patrol agents. They told us their jobs got an awful lot harder on Jan. 20, when Joe Biden became president of the United States.”