The Biden administration has instructed U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents not to use "he, him, she, her" pronouns when dealing with the public, according to an internal memo.
"We just obtained [CBP] documents directing personnel to only use woke language when encountering individuals invading the United States," the Heritage Foundation's Oversight Project said on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.
The Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) guidance asks CBP staff to use "gender-neutral language" and the "self-identified pronouns and name" of any members of the public they interact with.
"DO NOT use 'he, him, she, her' pronouns until you have more information about, or provided by, the individual," the memo states.
It also cautions against using salutations such as "Mr., Mrs. Ms., Sir, Ma'am."
The memo notes that it is generally talking about "individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, non-binary, and gender nonconforming."
"This guidance should be used by all CBP employees who encounter members of the public in the course of their job duties, including but not limited to law enforcement, trade, human resources, public liaisons, and others," the memo states.
The memo goes on to make the point that some LGBT individuals may "define these terms differently."
“Keep in mind that gender identity (sense of self) and sexual orientation (attraction) are separate and distinct; hence, transgender people, for example, may identify as heterosexual, gay, lesbian, or bisexual,” the memo also states under a section telling CBP staff what they should "do."
Amid a historic illegal immigration crisis at the southern U.S. border, the memo has been called an "unnecessary distraction" by a union leader.
"We can't be worrying about whether we're going to hurt somebody's feelings," National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd told Just the News on Tuesday.
Mr. Judd rejected the idea that CBP agents, swamped by thousands of illegal border crossers, now "have to be cognizant of their civil rights." He charged that the issue is not one of civil rights, but "simply a matter of preference."
"Taking the time to deal with that rather than deal with the actual laws that [we're] supposed to be enforcing. This is the woke mob," he added.
The guidance is "forced speech," according to Mike Howell, the director of the Oversight Project, which obtained the memo.
"I guess it wasn’t enough for the Biden administration to betray the Border Patrol by purposefully unleashing chaos on the southern border," Mr. Howell told Fox News.
"Now, the radical political leadership is enrolling agents in a forced-speech program to call illegal aliens by their preferred pronouns."
Furthermore, the members of the public that CBP staff most often interact with are migrants and illegal border crossers, he said.
"Border Patrol deals with more illegal aliens than any entity in the federal government," Mr. Howell said.
"This forced language guidance is designed to coddle illegal aliens."
Rep. Mark Green (R-Tenn.) speaks during a House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis hearing in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 19, 2021. (Susan Walsh/Pool/Getty Images)
The memo has been blasted by the chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, Rep. Mark Green (R-Tenn.) as an insult grappling with the border crisis.
"Border Patrol agents are crying out for tools and policies that will help them do their jobs, but are being handed manuals on misgendering instead,” Mr. Green told The Daily Wire.
"This makes a mockery of those who are doing their best to keep our borders secure."
Mr. Green contrasted the memo's requests with the reality of the border crisis, noting that "criminal illegal aliens" have been "released into our country on [DHS] Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas's watch."
At the same time, he said the committee has watched with apprehension as "a record number of individuals on the terrorist watchlist" were likewise allowed to enter the United States after being processed by border agents.
He attributed this, "in large part," to CBP agents being "so overwhelmed by this unprecedented crisis.”
“I’m sure, however, Americans will be comforted to know that those agents are now being trained on which pronouns these bad actors prefer," he added.
The Epoch Times has contacted DHS for comment.
Last year, when announcing new measures for transgender people traveling, Mr. Mayorkas touted the Biden administration's commitment to gender identity policies, which he said are treating everyone "regardless of gender identity" with respect.