The Library of Congress has decided to no longer use the heading “illegal aliens” in bibliographic records after Dartmouth College students petitioned to ban the “racially charged” term.
The Library of Congress denied the ban request in 2014, arguing that “illegal alien” is an official term for people who are in the country without proper documents, students told Fox News.
That’s when the Dartmouth Coalition for Immigration Reform, Equality and DREAMers, or CoFIRED, enlisted the help of librarian associations across the country to petition the Library of Congress to stop using the term, which they argued dehumanizes undocumented immigrants, Fox News reported.
Officials concluded that the meaning of “aliens” is often misunderstood and should be replaced with “noncitizens,” and that the phrase “illegal aliens” has become pejorative. The heading “illegal aliens” is being replaced by “noncitizens” and “unauthorized immigration,” The Associated Press reported.
“When we got the news we were very happy and excited,” Oscar R. Cornejo Casares, a junior majoring in sociology, told Fox News.
Mr. Cornejo said he was “surprised” by all the support from librarian organizations nationwide.
“We were surprised to see this was happening,” he told Fox News. “Illegal aliens is a dehumanizing, racially charged term. It’s about changing how we talk about things. The word alien makes undocumented people seem far removed … extraterrestrial.”
The Library of Congress subject headings index is used by libraries around the world.