New York City is the first major city in the United States to remove the phrases “alien,” “illegal migrant,” and “illegal immigrant” from all its local laws, rules, and documents. The city will be adopting the term “non-citizen” to curb supposedly dehumanizing speech from its legislation.
On Thursday, the New York City Council voted overwhelmingly (46-4) to ban the terms following the introduction of a bill in January that aimed to remove the terms from existing documents and prohibit them from being used in future ones. The council passed the bill during a virtual meeting over Zoom, according to Council Speaker Corey Johnson.
“(The term ‘alien’) is offensive, degrading and it does not belong in our city,” said Johnson. “And that is why we are making this change.”
The terms will be replaced by the politically correct terms “non-citizen” or “applicable.”
Council Speaker Francis Moya echoed Johnson’s remarks on Twitter, stating: “No human being is illegal.”
Moya described the terms, which are widely used to refer to individuals who bypassed legal residency and citizenship programs, as “dehumanizing and divisive and they don’t belong in our city’s guiding documents.”
“Thank you to my (City Council) colleagues for passing my bill to replace these terms with ‘noncitizen’ in our City Charter and admin code,” he added.
The move has been derided as an act of political correctness that does little to rectify the city’s problems with illegal immigration.
“It’s like the speech police is out again,” said Councilman Robert Holden, who voted against the measure. “Alien is a term used for someone who is from another area, another land. That’s a term used in Congress and in the government. We’re overstepping our bounds here prohibiting certain terms.”
Councilmen Kalman Yeger, Joe Borelli, and Steve Matteo also voted against the ruling.
Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to sign the measure into law, which will take effect 60 days after its enactment.