REPORT: City council considering bill to ban use of term “illegal alien”

JANUARY 11, 2020

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New legislation is being considered in New York City by the City Council’s Committee on Immigration that would make it illegal for city workers to use the terms “alien,” “illegal alien” or “illegal immigration.”

The bill was first introduced last month by Councilman Francisco Moya (D-Queens), and would replace the “offensive” terms with the word “noncitizen” on all city laws, materials and documents.

Moya is an “Ecuadorian American,” according to the profile on his Twitter account. He has served in the New York City Council from the 21st district since 2018. He served in the New York State Assembly from the 39th district from 2011 to 2017.

““Alien” is an outdated, politically loaded euphemism for “noncitizen”—a clear and unambiguous word. It’s time we remove “alien” the City Charter and Administrative Code and bar referring to human beings as “illegals” in future laws or city materials,” Moya said in a Twitter post on Friday.

The NY Daily News posted the following update on Thursday, noting that NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is in full support of the proposal:

De Blasio’s office backed a bill from Councilman Francisco Moya (D-Queens) to prohibit city laws, documents or materials generated by any agency from referring to noncitizens as “aliens,” “illegal aliens” or “illegal immigrants.”

“Words matter,” Moya said, adding that referring to immigrants as “illegals” is a “piece of hate speech that’s deployed only to intimidate and ‘otherize’ not just undocumented immigrants but often legal residents.”

Moya posted a mocking gif image of an “alien” waltzing down the street on Friday, and tweeted, “I see right wing twitter is big mad because I don’t want to call people “aliens” or “illegals” in City docs anymore.”

In a committee hearing on Thursday, Moya declared, “I introduced this bill because words matter and the language we use or choose to use has power and consequences.”  He added, “This isn’t about replacing one word with another. It is about treating the individuals these terms describe as human beings.”

In September, New York City published a 29-page document titled, “NYC Commission on Human Rights Legal Enforcement Guidance on Discrimination on the Basis of Immigration Status and National Origin,” making it unlawful to refer to anyone as an “illegal alien” or “illegals.”

The document declared that use of these terms “may carry negative connotations and dehumanize immigrants, marking them as ‘other,'” and violators can be punished up to a whopping $250,000 fine.

The law also makes it illegal to threaten to call ICE on someone, or tell them to “go back to your country.”

DMLNewsApp and founder Dennis Michael Lynch has stated repeatedly that “illegal alien” is the LEGAL term that is used in federal immigration law and by the Supreme Court. In federal law, the legal definition of “alien” is “any person not a citizen or national of the United States.”

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