Use this button to switch between dark and light mode.

Stop Calling People 'Aliens'

May 28, 2013 (1 min read)

"The use of the word “illegal” to describe non-citizens who are present in the United States without authorization is finally beginning to die a much-deserved death, at least in the mainstream press. ... Despite this trend, the term “alien” remains not only in popular use, but also in the federal statute, the Immigration and Nationality Act, that regulates immigration to the United States. ... All of this still begs the question: Why “alien”?  How did the specific term “alien” — which means not just non-citizen or non-national but, in a certain sense, non-person — become an accepted legal definition, and colloquial description, of the immigrant under U.S. law?  Would using a different word change the public’s attitude toward immigrants? And what does outer space have to do with it?" - Careen Shannon, May 27, 2013.  [See also: ALIEN LANGUAGE: IMMIGRATION METAPHORS AND THE JURISPRUDENCE OF OTHERNESS (Cunningham-Parmeter, 2011) and Us and Them: Understanding Your Tribal Mind (Berreby, 2005).