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Gita B Kapur

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It’s one step forward, one step back for immigrants in California

It’s one step forward, one step back for immigrants in California

On Behalf of | Oct 7, 2021 | Immigration

The United States is a nation that was founded by immigrants, but immigrants haven’t exactly been made to feel welcome throughout this country’s history — especially lately.

California is trying to show immigrants that they have value and are appreciated in this state, but the state’s latest efforts haven’t been totally successful. Let’s look at some things happening in this state that immigrants should know about.

The word “alien” is being stricken from California’s legal codes

Way back in 2015 and 2016, California removed the word “alien” in reference to immigrants throughout the state’s labor and education code. Now, Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed legislation that removes the word from the rest of the state’s legal codes.

Gov. Newsom called the word “an offensive term for a human being” and said that its use merely adds fuel to “a divisive and hurtful narrative.” In the words of another politician, the word “has been used in place of explicitly racial slurs to dehumanize immigrants.”

The terms “noncitizen” and “immigrant” will be used instead because they more closely align with the value that immigrants bring to California economically and culturally.

The ban on privately owned immigration detention centers was tossed

In less positive news, a federal appeals court struck down a 2019 California law that banned private prisons for immigrants and would have brought them to an end in the state by 2028. The law was designed as part of an overall resistance to hardline immigration policies that the federal government has put in place over the last several years.

The court basically said that the law couldn’t stand because it interfered with the right of the federal government to enforce immigration laws. Private detention centers have long been criticized for the way that they treat detainees and their lack of oversight.

News like this just reinforces the fact that the political atmosphere for immigrants is very complicated right now. Any person who is seeking admission to this country or a change in their immigration status would be well-advised to have experienced legal guidance throughout their journey.