Home California Bill to Remove the Derogatory Term “Alien” from State Law is Approved by the Assembly

Bill to Remove the Derogatory Term “Alien” from State Law is Approved by the Assembly

by ECT

SACRAMENTO – Assemblywoman Luz Rivas’ (D-Arleta) Assembly Bill 1096 was approved by the Assembly last week with bipartisan support and will now move on to the Senate. AB 1096 eliminates the offensive term “alien” from all state codes. The legislation would replace the word “alien” with other language that is more reflective of today’s legal terminology, such a “noncitizen” or “immigrant.”

The bill passed in a 71-0 vote.

The term “alien” has been used by the federal government since 1798 and in California since 1937.

“From the racially motivated shooting in El Paso to the recent rise in hate crimes against our API communities, we’ve seen a deliberate escalation of xenophobia in our society lead to violent attacks,” said Assemblywoman Luz Rivas. “The term “alien” has become weaponized and is now used in place of explicitly racial slurs to dehumanize our immigrant communities. The words we say and the language we adopt in our laws matter – this racist term “alien” must be removed from California statute immediately. No person should ever be referred to as an “alien” because they were born outside of the United States. I want to thank my Assembly colleagues for taking this matter seriously and approving AB 1096.”

“The word ‘alien’ has no right to be in California statute – no human being is an ‘alien,’” said long-time civil rights activist Dolores Huerta. “It is insulting and dehumanizing to have that terminology in our codes. Words are powerful instruments and history has shown us how they can be used to justify institutional racism and even violence. I applaud Assemblywoman Rivas for her leadership on AB 1096 and I look forward to removing that inappropriate language from our laws.”

California’s legislature first introduced “alien” into statute in 1937 to refer to fully naturalized U.S. citizens and immigrants living within U.S. borders. In the 1990s, people began to use the word “alien” as a dog whistle to express bigotry and hatred without using explicitly racist language.

“As an official Latino Caucus priority, I am proud to see AB 1096 pass the Assembly floor and get one step closer to becoming law,” said Latino Caucus Vice-Chair and co-author, Assemblymember Robert Rivas (D- Hollister). “The term ‘illegal alien’ has historically been used to discriminate and dehumanize our undocumented neighbors. This language has no place in California statute and it is time to remove it from state law.”

“We know the term ‘alien’ has a dark history going back to the California Alien Land Law of 1913, which specifically prevented Asian American and Pacific Islander immigrants from owning property. Removing the term from California code will be a major step in the right direction,” said Assemblymember Evan Low (D- Silicon Valley). “No human being is an alien, and offensive terms like this are often used as a weapon against immigrants of color. This country has reaped countless benefits from immigration, and AB 1096 will help us move forward in treating all California residents with dignity.”

“When we speak about undocumented Californians, we’re talking about our friends and neighbors—people who are vital members of our families and our communities. It’s essential that state law reflect this reality and that we treat them with the respect and dignity that they deserve,” said Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel (D-Woodland Hills), Chair of the California Legislative Jewish Caucus. “I applaud Assemblymember Luz Rivas for leading the effort to remove this offensive term from state law and am proud to be a co-author of this important measure.”

AB 1096 is supported by the Dolores Huerta Foundation, the Anti-Defamation League, the California Teachers Association, and the National Association of Social Workers, CA Chapter.

Assemblywoman Luz Rivas proudly represents the 39th Assembly District, which includes the City of Los Angeles communities of Arleta, Lake View Terrace, Granada Hills, Mission Hills, North Hollywood, Pacoima, Sun Valley, Sunland-Tujunga, Sylmar, and the City of San Fernando.


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Robert C. Jun 1, 2021 - 7:29 am

Sigh… more silly left-wing political correctness. They should look up the word in their Webster’s Dictionary. It’s perfectly legitimate. It is “offensive” and “weaponized” only in their minds. Of course, us taxpayers will foot the bill for this. What a pity they can’t worry about doing things that really matter.

Street-Sweeper Jun 1, 2021 - 8:42 am

JFC, can we stop with this nonsense?

Everybody is so selectively delicate!

Street swapper Jun 1, 2021 - 12:14 pm

I have heard people say the word Mexican or Black or White with a vocal inflection that makes it obvious they are veiled insults. We should strike all of those terms from the record as well

Barbara Gates Jun 1, 2021 - 3:13 pm

Are they kidding? We have ILLEGAL ALIENS ruining this country. I will always use that word “ALIENS” no matter what some idiotic “lawmakers” put out there. Get used to it, pals!

Martin NMN Jun 1, 2021 - 4:17 pm

These imbeciles will never quit! First of all someone who is a “non-citizen” has a GREEN CARD and is a permanent resident living in the USA and possibly wanting to become a citizen! “Immigrant” is someone who has gone through the legal process required to make them a LEGAL IMMIGRANT! This Rivas woman from Arleta has NO CLUE. Why are such ignorant people elected?

Lola Saavedra Jun 1, 2021 - 7:42 pm

The name “alien” is not used to “dehumanize our immigrant population.” Those who sneak in here illegally are not immigrants. They are what we rightfully refer to as ILLEGAL ALIENS! If this woman doesn’t like it, then it’s HER problem. She seems kind of daft!

L. Lawrence Jun 1, 2021 - 7:56 pm

These people are bat-shit crazy! It seems that my assemblymember voted for this and I’m going to read the riot act to him! He obviously is not familiar with terms like “immigrant” and others.

Mailu Vazquez Jun 3, 2021 - 3:32 pm

“racially motivated shootings in El Paso?” I thought we Mexicans are part of the CAUCASIAN race. They aren’t black nor Asian!

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