While the word “alien” is still used by the federal government and a wide variety of legal material to describe someone who is neither born nor naturalized in a country, California Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 432 this week to ban the use of the term. The bill was introduced by State Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) not only remove the term from all government documents but also removed the state’s preference for hiring U.S. citizens on public works projects during periods of unemployment.
The bill passed the Senate unanimously. Mendoza insisted that the term is “offensive” and “is now commonly considered a derogatory term for a foreign-born person and has very negative connotations.” The only person to vote against the bill was Assemblyman Matthew Harper (R-Huntington Beach) who insisted that “[t]he negative connotations come from the fact that people are breaking the law. Changing the word won’t change the fact that folks are here illegally.”
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