There is one controversial word US President Joe Biden hopes to axe from the nation's laws while in the top job and he’s getting to work right away to make it happen.
Following his inauguration on Wednesday (local time), Biden planned to send an immigration bill to Congress that would be the largest legislative overhaul of the US immigration system in decades if passed.
As part of the proposed reforms, Biden wants to change the word “alien” in US immigration laws to “non-citizen”.
Biden’s act to remove the word alien comes after a number of US politicians called for “illegal alien” to be removed from law.
In February last year, Democratic state representative in Colorado, Susan Lontine, told the New York Times it was “an awful term”.
Jose Antonio Vargas, the founder of Define American, a not-for-profit organisation advocating for migrants, also told the publication he remembered being dubbed a “resident alien” when he immigrated to San Francisco in 1993.
“Terms like ‘alien’ and ‘illegal’, which I grew up hearing on the radio and TV and reading in newspapers and magazines, had an isolating, disorienting, dehumanising effect,” he said.
Biden’s proposed reforms offer new path to citizenship
Biden’s proposed reforms to immigration laws also offer an eight-year path to citizenship for millions of people who were living in the US unlawfully on January 21, 2021.
It would also allow a group known as “dreamers” – who were brought to the US illegally as children, farmworkers, and people on Temporary Protected Status – to immediately apply for a green card if they met specific requirements.
The Biden Administration said in a statement the reforms aimed to restore humanity and American values to the immigration system.
“The bill provides hardworking people who enrich our communities every day and who have lived here for years, in some case for decades, an opportunity to earn citizenship,” the press release says.
“The legislation modernises our immigration system, and prioritises keeping families together, growing our economy, responsibly managing the border with smart investments, addressing the root causes of migration from Central America, and ensuring that the US remains a refuge for those fleeing persecution.”
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