New Pres Biden Seeks to Change ‘Alien’ With Less ‘Dehumanizing Term’ in Immigration Laws


When applying for US citizenship, you are likely to encounter the term ‘alien’, which essentially refers to you as a ‘foreigner.’ President Biden is aiming to replace this word with something less dehumanizing as he seeks to make positive changes to US immigration laws. As per Representative Joaquin Castro, it may be a symbolic change, yet it is a critical step to restoring humanity in the immigration process. When this change along with other changes take effect, be sure to talk to your immigration lawyer in New York to understand how they impact your status.


President Joe Biden is pushing for an immigration reform bill and proposed to have ‘alien’ removed from US immigration jargon. He wants is replaced with the word, ‘noncitizen’. It is a significant departure from the Trump administration’s verbiage, which encouraged the dehumanizing term. The bill also aims to provide an eight-year path to citizenship for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program recipients, as well as individuals who have temporary protected status. It further applies to millions of other undocumented immigrants. This way, America can further present itself as ‘a nation of immigrants,’ according to the legislation’s summary. Many advocates for immigrants and better immigration practices—including every reputable immigration lawyer in New York—applauded the proposal.


In 2015, Representative Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) made a similar proposal. He wanted to have the term ‘illegal alien’ removed from federal laws and have it replaced with ‘undocumented foreign national.’ The bill also sought to ensure that no executive agency would use ‘illegal alien’ or ‘alien’ in literature or signage. According to him, ‘alien’ is attributed as a slur, and therefore must be removed from US statutes.


That said, a lot of officials justified the use of ‘alien’ by referring to its prevalence in the US Code where it is defined as ‘any person not a citizen or national of the United States.’ New York City, along with states like Colorado and California, are already working to stop using the term at local levels.


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