Human language

California Governor Newsom Signs Law to Replace “Alien” with “Non-Citizen” or “Immigrant”


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California will remove the word “foreign” from its state laws, getting rid of what Gov. Gavin Newsom has called “a term offensive to a human being” that has “fueled a conflicting and hurtful narrative.”

Newsom signed a law on Friday that removes the word from various sections of the California state code. California passed laws in 2015 and 2016 that removed the word from the state’s labor and education code.

But the law Newsom signed on Friday finishes the job by removing the word from all laws in the state. The word will be replaced by terms such as “non-citizen” or “immigrant”.

“By changing this term, we are ensuring that California laws reflect the values ​​of our state,” Newsom said.

The federal government has used the term “extraterrestrial” to describe people in the United States who have not been citizens since at least 1798 with the passage of the “Aliens and Sedition Laws”. But MK Luz Rivas, a Democrat from Arleta, said the word “has become a weapon and has been used instead of explicitly racist slurs to dehumanize immigrants.”

“The words we speak and the language we adopt in our laws are important – this racist term ‘foreigner’ must be removed from California law immediately,” Rivas said.

Governments, libraries and news agencies have updated their immigration language in recent years. The Associated Press has updated its style notebook in 2013 to discourage the use of the expression “illegal alien” or “illegal immigrant”. Harvard Library announced in March that it was removing the phrase “illegal alien” from its cataloging language.

And in April, the American president Joe Biden ordered federal immigration agencies to stop labeling migrants as “foreigners.”

The change is California’s latest effort to modernize the language of its laws. Newsom signed laws earlier this year to insert neutral language into California Conservation Corps laws and elected officials.

California laws characterized the state attorney general and lieutenant governor as “him” and “him,” even though Vice President Kamala Harris was the state’s first female attorney general and Eleni Kounalakis was the state’s first female attorney general. first woman in the state to be elected lieutenant governor.

California is one of the few states that provides government-funded health insurance for low-income children and some adults living illegally in the country.

Newsom also signed laws on Friday that specify that crimes targeting people based on their immigration status are hate crimes and that private detention centers in California used to detain immigrants must follow local public health orders. and state.

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