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Politico Tells Staff to Avoid Referring to Border Situation as a ‘Crisis’

An asylum seeker holds a child while they are detained by U.S. Border Patrol near Yuma, Ariz., April 19, 2021. (Jim Urquhart/Reuters)

Politico management directed staff to avoid referring to the influx of illegal immigrants at the U.S. southern border as a “crisis,” in an internal letter obtained by the Washington Examiner.

“Avoid referring to the present situation as a crisis, although we may quote others using that language while providing context,” deputy production director Maya Parthasarathy wrote to staff in the letter. “While the sharp increase in the arrival of unaccompanied minors is a problem for border officials, a political challenge for the Biden administration and a dire situation for many migrants who make the journey, it does not fit the dictionary definition of a crisis.”

The memo also cautions staff to “Avoid emotive words like onslaught, tidal wave, flood, inundation, surge, invasion, army, march, sneak, and stealth,” which “could portray migrants as a negative, harmful influence.”

Politico newsletter from March stated that the Biden administration “has taken the Orwellian position that the largest surge in migration in two decades is not to be described as a ‘crisis.'”

U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported that border agents detained 172,331 migrants in March, more than double the number of migrants detained in January. The number includes 18,890 unaccompanied minors, a record monthly total that has overwhelmed the Department of Health and Human Services, which is charged with caring for migrant children and teenagers.

The Biden administration has attempted to avoid use of the word “crisis” when describing the surge in migrants at the border. After President Biden described the situation as a crisis over the weekend, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that “the president does not feel that children coming to our border seeking refuge…is a crisis,” though Psaki herself had used the term “border crisis” in an earlier unguarded moment.

Send a tip to the news team at NR.

Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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