New Jersey lawmaker pushes to remove ‘illegal alien’ from state statutes, citing ‘offensive language’

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A New Jersey Democratic lawmaker is pushing for legislation that would remove the term “illegal alien” from all state laws and replace it with the phrase “undocumented alien national.”

First introduced on May 12, Senate Bill 2599 would replace references to “alien” and “illegal alien” in all state statutes with “alien national” and “undocumented alien national,” respectively, when ‘it refers to a person in the context of his or her legal status and ’causes executive branch agencies to stop using those terms’.

The bill’s sponsor, State Senator Nilsa I. Cruz-Perez, who represents District 5 of Camden and Gloucester Counties, said it “removes from state law offensive language characterizing persons who are immigrants as “aliens” or “illegal aliens” and prohibits State executive agencies from using these terms in any rule, regulation, interpretation, publication or other proposed or final document, display or sign issued by the agency after the effective date of this bill, except to the extent used in quotations or reproducing material written by a source other than an officer or employee of the agency . »

“The United States is a nation of immigrants, and as such our laws should stop using terms that ostracize those in our society who may have been born elsewhere,” she said in a statement. press release regarding the bill.

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State of New Jersey Senator Nilsa I. Cruz-Perez, who represents District 5 of Camden and Gloucester Counties, in the official photo.
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State of New Jersey Senator Nilsa I. Cruz-Perez, who represents District 5 of Camden and Gloucester Counties, in the official photo.
(New Jersey Legislature)

“Regardless of their status, immigrants to our nation are first and foremost human beings. Removing the terms “alien” and “illegal alien” from this state’s laws shows respect for the hundreds of millions of descendants of immigrants who live in the United States. she says.

“Particularly in the context of such a controversial issue as immigration, ending the use of the terms ‘alien’ and ‘illegal alien’ will help reduce the biases that have plagued discussions about immigration and provide recognition of immigrant personality in the laws of this state,” she added.

Haitian community leaders, immigrant community members and their supporters gather at the Newark Immigration and Customs Enforcement field office to demand that President Biden's administration stop deportations and restore asylum on October 22, 2021 , in Newark, New Jersey.

Haitian community leaders, immigrant community members and their supporters gather at the Newark Immigration and Customs Enforcement field office to demand that President Biden’s administration end deportations and restore asylum on October 22, 2021 , in Newark, New Jersey.
(Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

In a recent interview published Tuesday, Cruz-Perez, a Puerto Rican-born member of the Latino legislative caucus, told the New Jersey Monitor that she thinks the terms “illegal alien” and “alien” are insulting and dehumanize immigrants. .

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“When I hear extraterrestrial I think of another planet – that’s why we use that word. Not people, just because they’re from another country,” she said. “I want to see them become citizens. They deserve it, and we have to see it very soon.”

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