Yesterday in California, governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill No. 432, which, according to The Los Angeles Times, would remove “the word ‘alien’ from California’s labor code because it is seen as a disparaging term for those not born in the United States.”
“I applaud Governor Brown for signing SB 432. My bill modernizes the Labor Code and removes the term ‘alien’ to describe a person who is not born in or a fully naturalized citizen of the United States. Alien is now commonly considered a derogatory term for a foreign-born person and has very negative connotations.”
Mendoza also added this:
“California is among the top destination states for immigrants in the United States. Given the abundant evidence of their many contributions, it is imperative that any derogative references to foreign-born individuals be repealed from state law.”
Mendoza’s release linked to a 2013 Pew study which reported this: “The use of ‘illegal alien,’ a term considered insensitive by many, reached its low point in 2013, dropping to 5% of terms used. It had consistently been in double digits in the other periods studied, peaking at 21% in 2007.”
Reaction on social media to the news has been intense. Here is just a sampling of tweets opposing the act:
Alien is being removed from the labor code in California? Because of negative connotations? So are things that are illegal now not negative?
— RJ Payne (@Payne_RJ) August 11, 2015
Democrats ban more words: Jerry Brown Bans the Word 'Alien' from California Labor Law http://t.co/orIFe08JZZ
— Dillon (@000Dillon000) August 11, 2015
— Captain Chaos (@tonyr951) July 10, 2015
In the spirit of Orwellian NewSpeak, the word "alien" will be replaced with the word "exonational" in California. https://t.co/YXsfexga77
— David Paul Taylor (@DavidPaulTaylor) August 11, 2015
However, others were positive about the news, yet (so far) there is more chatter opposing the measuring than there is supporting it:
California has removed the word "illegal alien" from its California labor code. I love my home state and its push towards progress.
— Jesus Garcia (@Jesse_ochodos) August 11, 2015
The use of “alien” is a common term in the legal language of the United States. For example, a search of the term “alien” at the Supreme Court’s online site generates over 30 pages of links.
What do you think of the California decision? Tweet me your thoughts @julito77.
Photo of California state capitol building by Rafał Konieczny (Wikimedia Commons)