Words are chosen and the connotations of the actual phrasing can and do carry meaning beyond just what the actual syllables mean. That seems to be the argument behind the latest rhetoric war between the people who are actually members of the border patrol and the people in Washington who are their bosses.
The bosses want to tone down the language and call illegal aliens undocumented immigrants, for example. Well, the head of the border patrol, Rodney Scott, is not having any of it. He expressed himself in a memo to the Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection and asked that spades be called spades rather than playing word games and watering down the language of what is going on at the border.
Despite every attempt by USBP leadership to ensure that all official messaging remained consistent with law, facts, 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 that are inconsistent with the law has the potential to further erode public trust in our government institutions.
I am also 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 risks each day to keep others safe. There are countless human capital studies that indicate that mission criticality and support from leadership affect the willingness of personnel to comply with policy and professional standards.
If such word games are affecting the border patrol’s job performance simply because the language is deliberately softened, then the remedy must be to change it back. Most Americans would be happy for that to happen no matter what the social justice warrior snowflakes would have us all believe.