Thursday, January 21, 2021

The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021: Replacing "Alien" with "Noncitizen"

The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 is the name of the comprehensive immigration bill that President Biden plans to send to Congress. While the full text of the bill is still not available, you can read the administration's summary here.

According to CNN, the bill if passed would, among other things, replace the term "alien" in the INA with "noncitizen."

It's an idea that's come up before. Representative Joaquin Castro introduced legislation to change the statutory language in 2019 and 2015. Some states have actually passed similar legislation: Colorado replaced the term "illegal alien" with "undocumented migrant" in 2020 and California removed the term "alien" from if its Labor Code in 2015.

Jose Antonio Vargas, renown undocumented American, told CNN that the proposed language change is important: "How we describe people really sticks. It affects how we treat them ... How we talk about immigrants shapes the policies. It frames what are the issues really at stake here. It acknowledges that we're talking about human beings and families."


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