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Illegal alien, undocumented immigrant: Colorado considers terms

A Colorado lawmaker proposed replacing the term illegal alien with undocumented immigrant on Thursday, bringing arguments heard in New York City and California to a swing state. 

The measure and similar efforts grapple with how language frames political conversations about immigration, and follow reports on the incendiary words President Donald Trump uses to describe migrants

If passed, the Colorado House bill sponsored by Rep. Susan would require that public contracts replace illegal alien with undocumented immigrant, similar to how California removed the term alien from the state labor code in 2015. New York City went a step further last September by banning derogatory usage of the phase in an effort to prevent discrimination based on immigration status

Fines up to $250K:New York City bans discriminatory use of ‘illegal alien

DEMMING, NM – A father and his daughter nap together in the Deming migrant shelter, Sunday, June 30, 2019, in Deming, New Mexico.

Some who oppose the measures say illegal alien is a legal term for people who enter the U.S. unauthorized, referencing its usage in federal laws such as the Immigration and Nationality Act. Hans von Spakovsky, a fellow with the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation, has called alternatives to the term imprecise or overly politically correct

Meanwhile, supporters of the efforts say the term alien dehumanizes immigrants. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Tex., called upon Congress to replace the word with foreign national last year, introducing a bill he said would create a more welcoming environment

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