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Immigration

ICE, CBP stop using terms like ‘illegal alien’, ‘assimilation’

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The heads of the two U.S. immigration enforcement agencies were directed by the Biden administration to use words such as “noncitizen” and “integration” instead of “alien” and “assimilation” as part of its effort to use immigration terms seen as more humane, according to memos obtained first by The Washington Post.

Troy Miller and Tae Johnson, the acting heads of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), on Monday issued separate memos to staff detailing the new changes regarding the use of certain immigration terms in internal and external communications, such as public statements.

Instead of “alien,” the memos instruct employees of both agencies to use “migrant” or “noncitizen”; “undocumented” rather than “illegal”; and “integration” instead of “assimilation,” according to The Post. The memos also tell CBP and ICE employees to use “noncitizenship” instead of “alienage”.

Advocates have long called for the retirement of these terms, which they argue are dehumanizing to the people they describe, and the adoption of a more civil tone.

“As the nation’s premier law enforcement agency, we set a tone and example for our country and partners across the world,” CBP’s Miller said in his memo. “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.”

ICE’s Johnson spoke similarly in his memo, saying, “In response to the vision set by the Administration, ICE will ensure agency communications use the preferred terminology and inclusive language.”

Officials, according to The Post, said the changes take effect immediately. The officials also acknowledge that they may need to use the terms in “legal or operational documents,” such as when filling out required forms.

MORE ON THE BORDER: Biden calls border surge a ‘crisis’ for the first time

Among those classified as noncitizens, according to the newspaper, are immigrants who are in the United States illegally, as well as millions of legal permanent residents—also known as green-card holders—and visitors arriving on work and tourist visas.

These changes come amid a record-breaking number of migrants—especially thousands of unaccompanied children—illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border over the past few months, as well as the resulting crisis that has seen overcrowded migrant detention facilities with poor accommodations.

MORE ON THE BORDER: Sara Carter: The border crisis is ‘astounding’

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @DouglasPBraff.

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Report: Denver area migrants cost $340 million to shelter, educate

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A report by the free-market Common Sense Institute found the more than 42,000 migrants who have arrived in Denver over the last year and a half have cost the region as much as $340 million. The city of Denver, local school districts, and the region’s health-care system have spent between $216 million and $340 million combined to shelter, feed, clothe, and educate the migrants, and to provide them with emergency medical care.

National Review explains the report builds off a previous report from March that conservatively found that the migrants had cost the region at least $170 million. “Costs are never localized,” said DJ Summers, the institute’s research director. “They expand outward.”

Democratic leaders are being blamed for their welcoming posture toward immigrants generally, and their sanctuary-city policies, which curtail law enforcement’s ability to cooperate with federal immigration agents. Since late December 2022, at least 42,269 migrants — or “newcomers” as Denver leaders call them — have arrived in the city, adds National Review.

The Common Sense Institute report found that the migrant crisis has also hit local emergency rooms hard with extensive expenses. Since December 2022, migrants have made more than 16,000 visits to metro emergency departments. At an estimated cost of about $3,000 per visit, that has resulted in nearly $48 million in uncompensated care.

Summers said those costs are “stressing existing health care organizations,” but they also indirectly hit residents in their pocketbooks through increased insurance prices.

Metro school districts have endured the biggest financial hit — estimated between $98 million and $222 million — according to the Common Sense Institute report. The large range in costs is due to the difficulties researchers had identifying exactly how many new foreign students are tied to the migrant crisis.

The researchers found that since December 2022, 15,725 foreign students have enrolled in local schools. Of those, 6,929 have come from the five countries most closely identified with the migrant crisis — Venezuela, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

On average, it costs a little over $14,000 to educate a student for a year in a Denver-area public school, but Summers said migrant students likely cost more.

“They have transportation needs that are different, they have acculturation needs that are going to be different, language assistance needs that are going to be different,” he said. “Many of them might need to get up to speed in curriculum. They might need outside tutoring.”

Earlier this year, Colorado lawmakers approved $24 million in state funding to help school districts statewide plug budget holes related to the migrant students.

Summers said the updated Common Sense Institute tally is likely still missing some costs related to the ongoing migrant crisis.

“There are definitely additional costs. We just don’t have a great way to measure them just yet,” he said, noting legal fees, crime, and unreported business and nonprofit expenses.

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