“I personally find the word ‘alien’ offensive when applied to individuals, especially to children,” said Sen. Frederica Wilson, D-Miami. “An alien to me is someone from out of space.”
She has introduced a bill providing that: “A state agency or official may not use the term ‘illegal alien’ in an official document of the state.” There would be no penalty for using the words.
In Miami-Dade County, Wilson said, “we don’t say ‘alien,’ we say ‘immigrant.'”
Wilson said she preferred the term “undocumented immigrant,” but that she would also accept “illegal immigrant.” This isn’t sliding too far down the slippery slope of political correctness, but rather it’s giving back a measure of humanity to a group of people that is, really, reviled in most of the country. (Here in New York it’s better than some places, but even here you find instances of hatred that go beyond what one could reasonably expect, even if you buy into the idea that it’s a mortal sin that someone here illegally is picking your oranges or washing your floors.)
Wilson went on to add:
“There are students in our schools whose parents are trying to become citizens and we shouldn’t label them,” she said. “They are immigrants, through no fault of their own, not aliens.”
For even just this reason, this bill is a good idea. I’d love to see other states (hello, California) or even the federal government pick this up.