February 23, 2021
A profound change has been proposed by the Biden administration for U.S. immigration law. Following up on candidate Joe Biden’s promise of immigration reform legislation, the U.S. Citizenship Act would eliminate the term “alien” from the U.S. immigration laws.
The country’s bedrock immigration law, the Immigration and Nationality Act, would be amended to say that “[t]he term ‘noncitizen’ means any person not a citizen or national of the United States.”
Some might think that terminology is not a big deal. But as a scholar of immigration and civil rights law, I believe that the one-word change could deeply influence Americans’ views about the rights of noncitizens and, by so doing, the future trajectory of immigration law and policy.
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