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Should #immigrants be #illegals?Texas Congressman Joaquin Castro introduced the Correcting Hurtful and Alienating Names in Government Expression Act (CHANGE) to congress a few weeks ago. The bill calls for the replacement of the term “Alien” in all federal law with “Foreign National.” and “Illegal Alien” with “Undocumented Foreign National.” Many consider the terms offensive, and they are. Alien is used to refer to extra-terrestrial creatures, not otherhuman beings. The term promotes a feeling of otherness or lack of belonging, which is not conducive to incorporate new immigrants into our society. You don’t call someone that comes from Connecticut to New Jersey an alien, so what does it matter if they are from another country. How would you feel if you moved to a new country and everyone there kept referring to you as an alien? You would probably feel as though the citizens of that country did not want you there, and you would probably feel very isolated. It is for these reasons that I truly feel that the term alien should be removed from all federal law. Despite that, I think this bill is a joke. At best, it should be a small part of immigration reform. Our immigration system has large glaring wholes:

  1. Border security;
  2. Visa system prohibiting those who want to come to the U.S. legally;
  3. Our broken Immigration Court and Detention system that can’t handle the demands on it and hobbles Judge’s discretion;
  4. Millions of undocumented immigrants or “illegals” who want to come out of the shadows if only our government decides on a way to allow it.

I think this bill has value, but in the context of a larger bill. At a time when substantive issues seems to be ignored by Congress, it is hard to believe that this is what our legislators are focusing on. Give our immigrants a path to citizenship or a path to legal status, I don’t care what you call it.

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