Joaquin Castro Files Bill To Strike Terms ‘Illegal’ And ‘Alien’ From Federal Immigration Code

Jul 24, 2019
Originally published on July 23, 2019 10:03 am

San Antonio Democratic Congressman Joaquin Castro introduced a bill this week to remove the words “illegal” and “alien” from the United States Immigration and Nationality Act. 

Castro said it is important to keep in mind how the federal government refers to migrants.

“Over the years the government has changed its language in how it describes people. For example, it changed the word 'mongoloid,' doesn’t use the word 'retard' anymore. So there are words that have been changed because we realize those words are harmful. The word 'illegal alien' has taken on its own life, and people use it as a slur now,” Castro said.

Castro’s bill would replace the words “illegal” and “alien” with the terms “foreign national” and “foreign national without documentation” in all federal language concerning immigration.  

He hopes changes in the language in federal statutes might also improve how the government and all voters regard immigrants.

Ryan Poppe can be reached at and on Twitter at @RyanPoppe1.

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