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California strips derogatory ‘alien’ term from state laws

Immigrants and noncitizens will no longer be termed “aliens” in California State code, Governor Gavin Newsom signed on Friday.

AB 1096, written by Assemblymember Luz Rivas (D-Arleta), will replace the outdated term “alien” in California law with “noncitizen” or “immigrant.” Since the 90s, “alien” has been used as a derogatory term in anti-immigrant policy pushes.

Newsom said in a statement:

“As the nation’s most diverse state, we are stronger and more vibrant because of our immigrant communities. … This important legislation removes the word ‘alien,’ which is not only an offensive term for a human being, but for far too long has fueled a divisive and hurtful narrative. By changing this term, we are ensuring California’s laws reflect our state’s values.”

Along with AB 1096, Newsom also approved a series of legislation geared towards improving the lives of immigrants in California, including bills centered around detention facility safety standards, rights for unaccompanied, undocumented minors and hate crime protections for immigrants.

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