DHS instructs agents to use gender-neutral language amid crisis

A new set of guidelines has been released by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under the Biden administration that instruct Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents to use gender-neutral language and ask immigrants for their preferred pronouns. The guidelines were obtained by the Heritage Foundation’s Oversight Project.

The document, titled “Guide to Facilitating Effective Communication with Individuals who Identify as LGBTQI+,” aims to provide guidance to CBP employees interacting with the public, including lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders, queers and questioners, intersexuals, nonbinary individuals, and gender nonconforming individuals. The document emphasizes the importance of avoiding certain terms and using appropriate pronouns only after gaining more information from the individual.

The DHS’s new communication guidelines are being implemented amidst a significant crisis at the southern border. Since President Biden took office, an estimated 1.7 million undocumented immigrants have entered the United States.

Rep. Mark Green (R-TN), Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, criticized the new guidelines, calling them an insult to agents who are pleading for additional resources to address the immigration crisis. He argued that instead of receiving support to do their jobs effectively, agents are being handed manuals on avoiding misgendering.

The DHS’s new communication guidelines follow a report commissioned by the department’s Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties from the RAND Corporation. The report recommended that the DHS modify its use of the words “male” and “female” by adding the terms “nonbinary,” “cisgender,” and “transgender.” The report also suggested replacing terms like “illegal immigrant” and “unlawful entry” with “undocumented noncitizen” and “entry without inspection” or “undocumented entry.”

Rep. Green criticized the RAND Corporation’s report as a deceitful and Orwellian strategy and accused it of being a tactic to hide Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’ leadership failures. He also suggested that Congress could use its power over funding to pressure the agency to focus more on actual border enforcement.