On Tuesday, Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) introduced H.R. 3776, a bill to prevent federal agencies from using the word “alien” to refer to foreign nationals. Castro is the chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and 13 of the 16 cosponsors are members of the caucus as well. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) also cosponsored the legislation.
“Words matter. It’s vital that we respect the dignity of immigrants fleeing violence and prosecution in our language,” Castro said in a press release on the bill. “The words ‘alien’ and ‘illegal alien’ work to demonize and dehumanize the migrant community. They should have no place in our government’s description of human beings.”
Drawing in broad strokes, Castro defended all immigrants as acting “in good faith.”
“Immigrants come to our borders in good faith and work hard for the opportunity to achieve a better life for themselves and their family. Eliminating this language from government expression puts us one step closer to preserving their dignity and ensuring their safety,” he declared.
His office proudly announced “the CHANGE Act, legislation that eliminates the term ‘alien’ and ‘illegal alien’ from the Immigration and Nationality Act, and replaces them with ‘foreign national’ and ‘undocumented foreign national,’ respectively.”
Rep. Castro serves as the campaign co-chair for his identical twin brother, Julián Castro, a former HUD secretary running for president in 2020. The presidential candidate did not respond to aa request for comment.
— Tyler O'Neil (@Tyler2ONeil) July 17, 2019
Democrats have launched an assault on basic language when it comes to immigration issues. They have demonized the Trump administration, blaming it for putting “kids in cages” — something that also happened on Obama’s watch — and for enforcing immigration law.
Democrats have insisted that “no one is illegal,” even if they break U.S. law to enter the country. This involves an Orwellian redefinition of immigration — claiming immigrants cannot be “illegal” because to be illegal is supposedly less than human.
The Castro bill goes even further, preventing use of the word “alien.” Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “alien,” the noun, as “a person of another family, race, or nation,” example: “aliens seeking asylum in the U.S.” The second definition is similar: “a foreign-born resident who has not been naturalized and is still a subject or citizen of a foreign country.” Only the third definition involves extraterrestrials.
The term “illegal alien” refers to a foreign person who has entered the U.S. illegally. More specifically, it means “a person of another nation” or “a foreign-born resident” who has entered or remained in the country illegally. This does not make them less than human.
It appears Castro, Omar, and their allies are using the term “illegal alien” as a weapon to delegitimize U.S. immigration law. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) has already done this by branding Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention centers “concentration camps.” Ocasio-Cortez also linked this attack to the “Never Again” campaign, making it clear she was accusing ICE of operating a Holocaust against immigrants.
This rhetoric seems to have inspired Willem Van Spronsen, a self-identified member of antifa who condemned ICE centers as “concentration camps” in his manifesto, to throw Molotov cocktails at an ICE facility — endangering the lives of migrants.
When it comes to demonization, “The Squad” are experts. Now, they’re demonizing clear language on immigration.
Or perhaps this whole legislation is just a response to the Area 51 raid, a Facebook event that has drawn the interest of 1.4 million people. Perhaps these Democrats are so intent on not calling humans “aliens” because they know something we don’t. Will the Area 51 raid reveal the existence of extraterrestrials?
Who am I kidding? If extraterrestrials are discovered, Democrats will want to prevent Americans from calling them “aliens” as well. After all, we wouldn’t want to dehumanize the little green men, right?
Update 6/18 11:22 a.m.: Presidential candidate endorses bill.
On Wednesday afternoon, Julián Castro endorsed the bill, saying he is proud of his brother.
“Human beings aren’t ‘illegal’ and immigrants aren’t ‘aliens’. Proud of my brother [Joaquin Castro] for introducing the CHANGE Act to eliminate our government’s use of these dehumanizing and racist terms,” the presidential candidate tweeted. While he did not say, “I endorse this bill,” he did insist that the words “illegal” and “aliens” cannot be applied to humans.
Human beings aren’t ‘illegal’ and immigrants aren’t ‘aliens’. Proud of my brother @JoaquinCastrotx for introducing the CHANGE Act to eliminate our government’s use of these dehumanizing and racist terms. https://t.co/Y6UQ1P9MiM
— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) July 17, 2019
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.