Immigrants and Aliens

I’v always wondered why immigrants are called aliens. Isn’t that a term more appropriate for creatures from another planet? But after a while I got used to it: Maybe the word alien simply means  foreigners, in addition to ugly looking dudes trying to destroy Earth. After all, it is a legal term – a word actually written in our very law.

In a recent opinion letter, however, Judge  DAMON J. KEITH of the Appeals Court expressed his view:

We recognize that using the term “alien” to refer to other human beings is offensive and
demeaning. We do not condone the use of the term and urge Congress to eliminate it from the U.S. Code.
We use it here, however, to be consistent with the statutory language and to avoid any confusion in
replacing a legal term of art with a more appropriate term.

I have to admit, although I won’t go on a hunger strike to demand the change, I’ll be happy if it goes. It just doesn’t sound that hard to find an alternative to describe immigrants (how about……immigrants?) While we’re at it, let’s also help USCIS find a better name for Advance Parole – a legal document issued to people in legal status, for them to return to the U.S. legally. Here is the definition of parole in a dictionary:


  1. Law
    • a. Early release of a prisoner who is then subject to continued monitoring as well as compliance with certain terms and conditions for a specified period./li>
    • b. The duration of such conditional release.
  2. A password used by an officer of the day, an officer on guard, or the personnel commanded by such an officer.
  3. Word of honor, especially that of a prisoner of war who is granted freedom only after promising not to engage in combat until formally exchanged.
  4. Linguistics The act of speaking; a particular utterance or word.

4 thoughts on “Immigrants and Aliens

  1. YMD

    Hi everybody,
    I need advice from you. I recently applied for N-400 for naturalization but somewhere in the form it asks if you already registered to vote, or voted. I answered yes for registering to vote but never voted. I knew that registering to vote or vote and claiming a usc is an offense. What happened is I receive SSI for disability and I am client at the vocational rehabilitation for services. In 2010, my assigned counselor asked me to register for vote, I said I can’t bcoz I am not yet a citizen, she told me you are naturalized as long as you receive ssi it’s federal and the service I receive from them bcoz voc. Rehab it’s a branch in the department economic and security so she said to me you are naturalized. I told her I came in US in 2008, she even called the voter election records to ask and and told them about the benefit I receive from federal and state, and the lady said the same thing that I am naturalized, then I filled up the form fee weeks later, I got the voter card then I took it to her ( counselor) to show her and I said to her I dont feel comfortable with this. Then she called her supervisor she was also immigrant before becoming a usc, she told me dont vote if you vote, you will be in big trouble when the timei apply for citizenship so she told to tear the voter card and cancel the registration, I did it. I cancelled and got proof of cancelation and record that I have never voted to any election. Now my concern is what can I do? Do I need a lawyer? So need your help and advice. If is there any somebody who had the similar issue as mine and won or anyone wh have an idea, plz help me, I would appreciate it. Thx

  2. IR_Blog Post author

    I do recommend that you consult an immigration attorney, and in the mean time, write down exactly what happened and keep all the records.

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