The new law will replace "alien" with words like "noncitizen" and "immigrant," a move Newsom's office announced was directed at "continuing California’s commitment to welcoming and diverse communities." The first-term Democrat, who recently prevailed by a wide margin in a Republican-backed gubernatorial recall challenge, announced that the change would exclude statutory language of an offensive term and touted the state's treatment of illegal immigrants.
“As the nation’s most diverse state, we are stronger and more vibrant because of our immigrant communities,” Newsom announced in a statement. “This important legislation removes the word ‘alien,’ which is not only an offensive term for a human being, but for far too long has fueled a divisive and hurtful narrative. By changing this term, we are ensuring California’s laws reflect our state’s values.”
Democrats have long denounced the use of the word, describing it as xenophobic, and Newsom's office called it "a political dog whistle to express bigotry and hatred without using traditionally racist language." California had already passed laws removing "alien" from the state’s labor and education code.
The change comes as migration along the southern border proceeds unabated, with historic amounts of immigrants attempting to enter the United States in recent months.
Customs and Border Protection encountered 208,887 people attempting to cross the border in August, an amount four times higher than the 50,014 people encountered in August 2020. In the meantime, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas asserted Wednesday that the border is "no less secure" than it was beforehand.
The Biden administration spent the last week attempting to manage an encampment of thousands of Haitian migrants under a bridge near Del Rio, Texas. Pictures revealing CBP agents corralling some of the migrants on horseback led to allegations that they were being whipped and sparked fury from Democrats, including President Joe Biden, who said those responsible "will pay."
CBP agents categorically denied whipping migrants. The photographer who took the viral images further denied seeing agents whipping the migrants and announced that the pictures could be "misconstrued" as showing them being beaten.
Meanwhile, Newsom has easily survived an attempt to recall him, thwarting an effort to boot the Democrat from office early.
Networks called the race within 45 minutes of surveys closing, with enough mailed and early-counted ballots to tip the race strongly in Newsom's direction. The first batch of results revealed Newsom, a former San Francisco mayor, and lieutenant governor, getting over 60% of the vote statewide, and figures from early Wednesday morning showed him with 63.9% of the vote. Although, that margin could narrow as same-day votes, which usually favor Republicans, are tallied.