A bill that would eliminate the terms “alien” and “illegal alien” from the state code and replace them with “foreign national” or “undocumented foreign national” advanced from the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism, and Historic Preservation Committee today by a vote of 4-0.
The bill was sponsored by State Sen. Nilsa Cruz-Perez (D-Barrington), who argued that terms like “illegal alien” ostracize immigrants and that the state must foster a more welcoming environment.
“The words we use to describe individuals in statutes are extremely important due to the power they have to isolate and dehumanize communities,” Cruz-Perez said in a statement. “As a nation of immigrants, our laws should discontinue the use of terms that actively ostracize those in our country who may have been born elsewhere.”
The bill advanced with little fanfare, as no one testified before the committee in favor or opposed to the measure. In the Assembly, an identical bill sponsored by Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera (D-Gloucester) has yet to come before a committee.