There’s a language change in the Golden State: California Gov. Jerry Brown approved legislation this week that bans the word “alien” from California’s entire labor code, a move that “recognizes and respects the diversity and contributions of all Californians,” according to Mr. Brown’s office.
“Alien” is derogatory, according to state Sen. Tony Mendoza, who introduced the bill, found here
“Alien” is still used in federal immigration law. Will it be purged also? Maybe.
There is growing national sentiment that it is “inappropriate,” says Kevin R. Johnson, dean of public interest law and professor of Chicana/Chicano Studies at the University of California at Davis.
“The concern is that the use of the word ‘alien’ would dehumanize the people affected and lead to “lack of protections under the law,” he told the Los Angeles Times.
Here is the text of Mr. Mendoza’s bill SB 432:
“Existing law, with certain exceptions, requires the payment of not less than the general prevailing rate of per diem wages, for work of a similar character in the locality in which a public works project is performed, to all workers employed on a public works project. With respect to the extension of public works, existing law extends preference for employment first to California citizens, next to citizens of other states who are in California at the time of application, and next to aliens who are in California at the time of application. Existing law defines ‘alien’ as any person who is not a born or fully naturalized citizen of the United States.
Under existing law, the Department of Finance is required to ascertain and secure from state agencies tentative plans for the extension of public works that are best adapted to supply increased opportunities for advantageous public labor during periods of temporary unemployment in the state. These employment opportunities are available according to the hiring preferences described above.
This bill would repeal this definition of ‘alien’ and the provision requiring those preferences to be applied to the extension of public works employment during periods of unemployment in the state.”