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Border patrol warned agents not to refer to immigrants as ‘catch of the day’

The former director of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) media division last year asked agency members to stop using phrases like "catch of the day" regarding immigrants illegally crossing the border.

The Oct. 26, 2017, email, obtained by watchdog group American Oversight in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, asked the agency to treat anyone they interact with with respect.

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“Whether an illegal alien or alleged (or even convicted) criminal, all are human, and should be treated humanely,” the email said. “We must guard against using language that detracts from that inherent dignity and respect.”

The email specifically focused on phrasing on social media, urging CBP to not make light of people's situations.

"I understand that social media is much more conversational than traditional media and often uses creative word play to attract readers or followers, or better, re-tweets of our messages," they wrote. "However, this is where we need to ensure we're not making light of individuals' circumstance. I cite as an example the use of ‘catch of the day’ which is appropriate for fish, or substances interdicted, but not in reference to people.”

American Oversight filed their FOIA request in part based on a Oct. 20, 2017, CBP tweet showing a picture of four captured men with the hashtag #CatchOfTheDay. 

A representative from the Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to The Hill's request for comment on the email.

Read the email below: