New Battle In Congress Over Use Of Term 'Illegal Alien'


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Rep. Joaquin Castro Photo credit: Patric Schneider/For the Chronicle
A new fight over the term “illegal alien” brewed in the House of Representatives, where Democrats unsuccessfully sought to do away with the term, losing Tuesday in a 25-24 vote.
Republicans had included a provision in a spending bill that sought to restore the use of the term in the Library of Congress, which decided in March to drop it in subject headings and instead use “non-citizens” and “unauthorized immigration.”
The decision by the Library came after a campaign by college students and librarians across the country objecting to the term, which they argued is pejorative.
Rep. Joaquin Castro, a Texas Democrat, and several other Democrats in the House sent a letter to the House Appropriations Committee asking the panel to remove the illegal alien provision from the Legislative Branch Appropriations bill. Members of the congressional Hispanic, Asian-Pacific, and black caucuses signed onto the letter.
Castro introduced a measure last fall to remove the term – which has been used in U.S. documents since the Naturalization Act of 1790 – from official U.S. regulations, laws and documents.
“It’s outdated,” Castro said in an interview with Fox News Latino. “The term is an anachronism. When we think of the term ‘alien’ now we think of people who are from outer space.”
Castro said the term is dehumanizing, and that the government’s continued use of it puts it behind the American public, which increasingly has abandoned it.
“Over time, the way we describe people can and does change,” said Castro, vice-chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
Proponents of the term call the effort to end its use political correctness. They say the terms that critics use instead of “illegal alien” sugar-coat the status of people who are in the……..
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