As a symbolic gesture to reframe America as a land of immigrants, Biden wants to remove the word 'alien' from immigration laws

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Sarah Al-Arshani
·2 min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Biden
Joe Biden. AP Photo/Susan Walsh
  • President Joe Biden wants to remove the word "alien" from US immigration law.

  • Biden wants to replace it with "noncitizen."

  • It's a symbolic gesture, his administration said, to frame America "as a nation of immigrants."

  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

President Joe Biden wants to remove the word "alien" from US immigration law as a symbolic gesture to acknowledge the US "as a nation of immigrants."

In a summary of his immigration bill, Biden said he planned to replace the word with "noncitizen."

"The language change on the first day of this administration, with Kamala Harris the daughter of immigrants, to me it's not just symbolic ... it's foundational," Jose Antonio Vargas, a journalist and undocumented immigrant, told CNN.

The US Code defines an "alien" as anyone who's "not a citizen or national of the United States."

Several local jurisdictions have modified the words used to describe immigrants. In 2015, then-Gov. Jerry Brown of California signed a bill to remove the word "alien" from the state's labor code.

Read more: SCOOP: Trump taps his former chief of staff and impeachment lawyers as the gatekeepers to his papers after his presidency

In 2019, New York City banned the term "illegal alien" when it's used "with intent to demean, humiliate or harass a person."

As president, Donald Trump used the term frequently, especially as he played up baseless claims about immigrants and immigration.

CNN reported that Trump used the term at least five times while speaking at the US-Mexico border last week.

"We were in the Trump administration the perennial boogeyman," Vargas told CNN. "Whenever Trump was in trouble, he started talking about the 'illegals' and talking about the border."

Biden, who took office on Wednesday, has already made immigration a priority. He issued an executive order revoking the ban on travel from majority-Muslim countries. He also unveiled a plan to give farmworkers permanent residency and to give young immigrants a pathway to citizenship.

Read the original article on Business Insider