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Douglas Andrews / April 21, 2021

Orwellian Biden Bans Non-Inclusive Words

By banning the use of certain words within his federal immigration agencies, Joe Biden shows once again that nothing is beneath him.

“Most people who bother with the matter at all would admit that the English language is in a bad way,” said a rather prescient George Orwell back in 1946, “but it is generally assumed that we cannot by conscious action do anything about it. Our civilization is decadent and our language — so the argument runs — must inevitably share in the general collapse.”

It’s hard to argue with Orwell’s take on the sorry state of both our civilization and our language, but it’s not hard to affix the blame. We need only look leftward, where they once shared with the rest of us a healthy and abiding respect for words and their meaning. Those days, though, are long gone — gone, even, before they took an age-old word like “marriage” and mutilated it.

Our language, sadly, has been ruined by the Left — just like it’s ruined everything else it’s touched.

The latest depredation on our native tongue comes courtesy of the Biden administration, which Monday put the kibosh on a small group of well-worn and unambiguous words. As the Washington Examiner’s Anna Giaritelli reports, “Federal agencies tasked with enforcing border and immigration laws have ordered employees to stop using the terms ‘illegal alien,’ ‘alien,’ and ‘assimilation’ when referring to immigrants. The change represents an attempt by the Biden administration to get rid of decades-old legal terms that were used by Republican and Democratic administrations but are seen by liberals as offensive.”

But what to replace them with? As Giaritelli continues, “Officials atop Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection, both agencies at the Department of Homeland Security, announced in memos Monday that personnel should start using ‘noncitizen’ or ‘migrant’ for ‘alien,’ ‘undocumented’ for ‘illegal,’ and ‘integration’ for ‘assimilation.’”

The worst of these, of course, is the cancellation of the precise and supremely useful word “illegal,” which carries a certain weight to it that “undocumented” can’t begin to capture. Put another way, the two words mean utterly different things. The former refers to a lawbreaker, such as someone who’s crossed a border from one country into another without permission, while the latter refers to someone who apparently lacks some kind of paperwork.

As for the banishment of “assimilation,” Biden might just as well banish what’s come to be known as The American Experiment, one of the hallmarks of which is our nation’s traditional motto, e pluribus unum, which means out of many, one. Since the founding of our nation, we Americans have been called upon to assimilate ourselves into a national fabric, a national identity — to become American above all else. No more, though, according to the Biden administration, which clearly places a higher value on tribalism than the common thread of American.

“In response to the vision set by the Administration,” said Biden’s acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement director, Tae Johnson, “ICE will ensure agency communications use the preferred terminology and inclusive language.”

When it comes to this administration’s official communications, then, accuracy and precision will henceforth take a backseat to inclusivity.

Tom Homan, Johnson’s predecessor under Donald Trump, begs to differ. As he put it, “Telling law enforcement officers to stop using terms that are clearly defined in the law they enforce is just another example of this administration tearing down the law enforcement institution. If this Administration doesn’t like those terms, then legislate and change the law. Don’t instruct law enforcement officers to ignore the law.”

As we said, though, Democrats haven’t always been this way. As Breitbart’s John Binder reminds us, their leaders used to rail against illegal immigration and ardently support assimilation. “In a 1995 op-ed for the New York Times … [Democrat Congresswoman and civil rights icon Barbara] 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.’ Jordan similarly referenced the need for a national assimilation policy, which she called ‘Americanization.’”

Suddenly, 1995 seems like a very long time ago.

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