In the process of copyediting a manuscript recently, I came across the website for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. It used to be two separate agencies: the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and Customs. Now they’re one agency under the Department of Homeland Security.
Here’s what the About page says:
“Created in March 2003, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is the largest investigative branch of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The agency was created after 9/11, by combining the law enforcement arms of the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and the former U.S. Customs Service, to more effectively enforce our immigration and customs laws and to protect the United States against terrorist attacks. ICE does this by targeting illegal immigrants: the people, money and materials that support terrorism and other criminal activities. [emphasis mine] ICE is a key component of the DHS ‘layered defense’ approach to protecting the nation.”
Now this is a classic problem in copyediting. Did the writer of this page intend to equate all illegal immigrants with terrorists? The way it’s worded, that is the only possible conclusion.
Do you think it’s badly worded? Or does ICE think “illegal aliens = terrorists”?
As Golden Zen says, some things I just don’t control, like the writing on government websites.
But I can express moral outrage, can’t I? Maybe someone will notice. Last time I checked, most illegal immigrants or illegal aliens were looking for a job so they could send remittances to their family at home. When did trying to feed your family make you a “person who supports terrorism”?
Perhaps some of them are criminals and terrorists, but ICE shouldn’t paint them all with the same brush!