Leaked Memo Shows Border Patrol Chief Rejected Ban on Term ‘Illegal Alien’

"I cannot endorse it," said Chief Rodney Scott

Image Credits: Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post via Getty Images.

U.S. immigration agencies were recently ordered to discontinue use of terms like “illegal alien” and “assimilation” – a move that was staunchly pushed back upon by Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott, a leaked internal memo has revealed.

On April 16, three days ahead of the official announcement, Chief Scott sent a memorandum to Troy Miller, acting head of Customs and Border Protection, expressing his disagreement with the mandates.

“This memorandum serves as my official nonconcurrence to the proposed updated terminology for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) communications and materials. I will not undermine this effort; however, I cannot endorse it,” Scott stated in his letter, which was obtained and verified by the Washington Examiner.


Scott asserted that “outside forces on both extremes of the political spectrum” have attempted to politicize the mission of Border Patrol.

“Despite every attempt by USBP leadership to ensure that all official messaging remained consistent with law, fact, and evidence, there is no doubt that the reputation of the USBP has suffered because of the many outside voices. Mandating the use of terms which are inconsistent with law has the potential to further erode public trust in our government institutions,” Scott wrote.

Additionally, Scott warned Miller he was “concerned about the morale of our workforce.”

“To be clear, when I reference morale, I am not referring to an employee’s happiness. I am referring to an individual’s willingness to take personal risk each day to keep others safe,” Scott said.

“There are countless human capital studies which indicate that mission criticality and support from leadership affect the willingness of personnel to comply with policy and professional standards.”

Scott requested the administration delay the terminology changes “until the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 is enacted and then adjust accordingly,” but memos ordering use of new “preferred terminology and inclusive language” were issued days later.



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