Area sheriffs disregard the president’s order to use less offensive terms for noncitizens

Sheriffs want to use words their constituents are familiar with

VICTORIA, Texas – In his 40+ years in law enforcement Sheriff A. J. “Andy” Louderback said he has always used the term “illegal alien” when referring to noncitizens. 

And even though in early April, U.S. President Joe Biden ordered law enforcement agencies to use the terms “noncitizen,” and “integration” instead of illegal alien and assimilation. 

Louderback said he has no plans to stop using the term “illegal alien” because it’s the term used in the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996.

“I think it’s inaccurate, I think they are citizens of some country, there’s a country they are a citizen of,” Louderback said. “It’s not, it’s not something that’s derogatory, it’s a status of a person, did you come through a port of entry? If you came through a port of entry, you’re not an illegal alien.”

Emett Alvarez, a Mexican-American bilingual newspaper publisher, and editor based in Victoria, said he feels the term illegal alien is the equivalent of using a racial slur, like how savage or Indian are used to describe Native Americans. 

“I think it’s appropriate to move away from using, ‘alien,’” Alvarez said. “I know it’s been used for a long time. It doesn’t really identify the person. I think you would be better off served to classify them from the country they originated from.”

Lavaca County Sheriff Micah Harmon and Dewitt County Sheriff Carl Bown held a town hall at the Cuero Municipal Park Clubhouse on Wednesday.

“We don’t really concern ourselves with what ya call it, it just is what it is,” Bowen said. “I speak on terms that folks understand, if that’s what they understand, that’s what I use. We have a significant Hispanic/Latino population, we have very active Latino programs here, I can tell you, to them that is not an issue, they don’t even give it a second thought, they are more concerned with, just like everyone else, the criminality that’s associated.”

“It’s illegal,” Harmon said. “What they are doing is illegal. You can change the name, call it what you want to but it’s not going to take away from the fact of what it is.”

It was one of several town halls planned throughout the region.

Part II: UHV student concerned use of ‘illegal alien’ by area law enforcement could keep young professionals from wanting to stay in the Crossroads

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