Texas Democrat breaks with Biden on ending use of the term “illegal alien”

by Peter Heck · Apr 22nd, 2021 9:26 am
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Last Updated Apr 23rd, 2021 at 10:18 pm

Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) became the first member of his party to buck the Biden administration's order to ban the use of the term "illegal alien." Cuellar said that, as someone who lives near the border, he finds it unnecessary.

"I can understand some people are trying to be a little bit more politically correct, but if you look at what the statutes say, they do use the word 'alien,'" Cueller said. "That's what the statute does, so until the statute changes, some of us will continue to be using the word 'alien' on that."

The lawmaker, whose district runs nearly 200 miles along the border next to the Rio Grande valley, said he did not anticipate the statute being changed. The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 originally used the term "alien" to describe foreign individuals entering the country. The term was repeated, without controversy, in the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996.

Both those acts were signed into law by Democratic presidents.

🔦 Fellow Texas Democrat Joaquin Castro is the architect of legislation to forbid federal government agencies and individuals from using the term alien when referring to immigrants. In its place, Castro recommends and the Biden team affirms "foreign national" is the better choice.


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