ARTESIA (CBSLA.com) —State lawmakers Thursday voted in support of a bill from a Southland lawmaker that would remove the term “alien” from the California Labor Code, a word historically used to describe foreign-born individuals.
Senate Bill 432, introduced in February by State Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia), was approved by the state Assembly in a 55-0 vote.
If signed into law, SB 432 would delete the term “alien” – which Mendoza called “outdated” and “derogatory” – as a definition for an immigrant individual and “modernize” the Labor Code to describe any person who is not born in or a fully naturalized citizen of the United States, according to Mendoza.
“The word ‘alien’ and any law prescribing an order for the issuance of employment to ‘aliens’ have no place in the laws of our state and more importantly, should never be the basis for any employment hiring,” Mendoza said.
In 1937, state lawmakers enacted various provisions which utilized the word “aliens”, but most of the Labor Code sections were repealed in 1970.
However, the Legislature left the definition for “alien” and the order under which employment is to be given to “aliens” intact, and the word remained in the Labor Code.
Popular opinion of the use of “illegal alien” reached a new low in 2013 as far as media usage, comprising just 5 percent of the terms used, down from a peak of 21 percent in 2007, according to a Pew Research Center study.
SB 432 will now head to Governor Jerry Brown for his signature.