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Immigrants and non-citizens will no longer be termed “aliens” in California State code, under legislation signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday.
AB 1096, written by Assemblymember Luz Rivas (D-Arleta), will replace the outdated term “alien” in California law with “noncitizen” or “immigrant.” Since the 1990s, “alien” has been used as a derogatory term in anti-immigrant policy pushes.
“As the nation’s most diverse state, we are stronger and more vibrant because of our immigrant communities,” Newsom said in a statement. “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.”
Along with AB 1096, Newsom also approved a series of legislation geared towards improving the lives of immigrants in California, including bills centered around detention facility safety standards, rights for unaccompanied, undocumented minors and hate crime protections for immigrants.