Correcting Alienating Names in Government Act (CHANGE)

The United States is looking less and less friendly to those looking to immigrate here. Recent policy changes spearheaded by the Trump Administration, as well as the looming threat of mass ICE raids, weigh heavily on the country and the international community. To try and counteract some of the feelings of ill-will that may be felt by those in the U.S. immigrant community, some advocacy groups and policymakers are looking to push back and remind everyone that immigrants come here looking for better lives and have poured much into support things like the growth of the U.S. economy. Democratic Texas Rep. Joaquin Castro is one such policymaker who is pushing for positive change for U.S. immigrants with the Correcting Alienating Names in Government Act (CHANGE).

What is the Correcting Alienating Names in Government Act (CHANGE)?

Democratic Texas Representative Joaquin Castro is working to remind us all that words matter. Words can hurt and words can heal. This is why he is pushing for the Correcting Alienating Names in Government Act (CHANGE). The CHANGE Act seeks to eliminate the words “alien” and “illegal alien” from the Immigration and Nationality Act and other government texts. The Immigration and Nationality Act is the ruling federal immigration law. The words “alien” and “illegal alien” would be replaced by “foreign national” and “undocumented foreign national.”

Rep. Castro, who’s the Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and whose twin brother, Former Housing Secretary, Julián Castro, is a 2020 hopeful, stated that, “It’s vital that we respect the dignity of immigrants fleeing violence and prosecution in our language. The words ‘alien’ and ‘illegal alien’ work to demonize and dehumanize the migrant community. They should have no place in our government’s description of human beings.” This is a sentiment that has long been echoed by immigration activists. The Associated Press updated its stylebook in 2013 to no longer sanction use of the term “illegal immigrant” as a description of someone living in the U.S. without papers. A Rasmussen poll conducted in June found that 26% of registered voter respondents thought the phrase “illegal immigrant” was offensive.

Rep. Castro and supporters of the Change Act believe that the shift in acceptable rhetoric as reflected by changing the offending words in government documents and laws such as the Immigration and Nationality Act would signal a more “welcoming and inclusive environment for incoming and current immigrants living in the United States.” Change Act supports want to remind the country that we are a nation of immigrants. We were built by immigrants and we should continue to show our support for this community. For discussion regarding immigrants and immigration reform, the language we use in discussing these topics may set the tone for how they proceed and how they are received by both state lawmakers and the public at large.

Trusted Immigration Attorneys

While U.S. immigration policy seems to become more heated every day, things like the CHANGE Act remind us that there are those who wish to support and raise up those immigrants within the U.S. and those looking to come to the U.S. If you have any questions regarding U.S. immigration laws or your immigration options, contact the knowledgeable immigration attorneys at Nachman, Phulwani, Zimovcak Law Group, P.C. We are happy to answer any questions regarding your immigration status and options. Contact us today.