California will strike the word "alien" from the books. Fresh off his recall election blowout, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Friday he's signed legislation removing the "offensive" term and replacing it in state law with "non-citizen" and "immigrant," per Axios, which notes the term has been in use by California to identify those born outside the US since 1937. “As the nation’s most diverse state, we are stronger and more vibrant because of our immigrant communities,” Newsom said in a statement. “This important legislation removes the word ‘alien,’ which is not only an offensive term for a human being, but for far too long has fueled a divisive and hurtful narrative. By changing this term, we are ensuring California’s laws reflect our state’s values.”
Assemblywoman Luz Rivas, a Democrat from Arleta, said the word “has become weaponized" and has been used in place of explicitly racial slurs to dehumanize immigrants. “The words we say and the language we adopt in our laws matter—this racist term ‘alien’ must be removed from California statute immediately,” said Rivas, who authored the bill, which was signed by Newsom of Friday, per the AP
. The move follows a similar one by President Biden who, in April, ordered federal immigration agencies to stop using the terms "alien," "illegal alien," and "assimilation, per Axios.
In their statement, Newsom's office said the governor also recently signed bills that protect the health and safety of immigrants by "clarifying safety standards at detention facilities," better protect undocumented minors who enter the country unaccompanied, and protect immigrants under hate crime laws. California was already one of a few states that provide government-funded health insurance to low-income children and some adults living in the country illegally, per the AP.
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