California to remove 'alien' from state laws when referring to noncitizens

Sacramento Capitol
Posted at 1:01 PM, Sep 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-27 16:01:43-04

(KGTV) — California will no longer use the term "alien" to describe foreign-born individuals in the state's code and laws, under a new law.

The law, AB 1096, was signed into effect last week by Gov. Gavin Newsom. By signing it into law, AB 1096 will replace the word "alien" with words such as "noncitizen" or "immigrant" in an effort to replace "outdated and derogatory" terminology, according to Newsom's office.

“As the nation’s most diverse state, we are stronger and more vibrant because of our immigrant communities,” Newsom said in a release. “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.”

The term "alien" was used to identify people who were not born in the U.S. by the federal government since 1798 and in California since 1937. In the 90s, the term began to be used in a political sense more and more often.

By 2015, the word was officially replaced in California's labor and education code, according to the Associated Press, but still used widely elsewhere. This month's signing strips all state laws of using the term "alien" to refer to noncitizens.

The bill was introduced by Assemblymember Luz Rivas (D-Arleta).