By George Bao
Jun 17, 2016
Los Angeles – U.S. Congresswoman Judy Chu has expressed her opposition to the use of the pejorative term “illegal aliens” to describe those who stayed in the United States without legal documents.
Judy Chu, the first Chinese American woman in the U.S. House of Representatives, expressed her opposition by voting against the H.R. 5325 Bill on June 10, which encourages the use of such pejorative terms.
A statement issued by Chu’s office in Los Angeles said that on June 10, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 5325, the Fiscal Year 2017 Legislative Branch Appropriations Act. This bill appropriates $1.19 billion for the operations of the House of Representatives, as well as $2.29 billion for other legislative branch agencies and programs affiliated with the House, like the Capitol Police, the Library of Congress, the Government Accountability Office, and the Government Printing Office.
However, according to the statement, the bill also includes report language that seeks to force the Library of Congress to continue using the term “illegal aliens.” This provision is in response to the Library’s March 2016 decision to replace this term with the words “noncitizens” and “unauthorized immigration” after a lengthy review process determined “alien” to be pejorative and recommend it’s use be discontinued.
Due to the inclusion of this provision, Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) voted against the bill.
“Language matters, which is why the Library of Congress first decided to stop using these pejorative terms. Terms like ‘Alien’ and ‘Illegal Alien’ are all too familiar to many in our immigrant communities,” Chu said in the statement.
“Between the late 1800s and mid-1900s, various ‘alien’ laws targeted Asian Americans by denying their citizenship, restricting land ownership, and prohibiting inter-racial marriage. And during World War II, the U.S. government rounded up ‘aliens of Japanese ancestry’ for imprisonment. Today, new immigrants are called ‘alien,’ which makes them feel unwelcome and un-American,” said Chu.
“This is outrageous. Instead of isolating and attacking our new immigrants, we should be seeking to support them and bring them out of the shadows. Immigrants contribute to the vitality and diversity of our country. I remain committed to countering the rising xenophobia in Congress and our country,” Chu stated.
Last month, Rep. Chu, as Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, joined leaders of the Congressional Black and Hispanic Caucuses in sending a letter to the House Appropriations Committee urging the removal of the provision.