Bill Would Mandate Nicer Term For Illegals

Bill Cotterell, News-Press (Ft. Myers, Fla.), Feb. 27, 2007

A state legislator whose district is home to thousands of Caribbean immigrants wants to ban the term “illegal alien” from the state’s official documents.

“I personally find the word ‘alien’ offensive when applied to individuals, especially to children,” said Sen. Frederica Wilson, D-Miami. “An alien to me is someone from out of space.”

She has introduced a bill providing that: “A state agency or official may not use the term ‘illegal alien’ in an official document of the state.” There would be no penalty for using the words.

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“‘Illegal,’ I can live with, but I like ‘undocumented’ better,” she said.

Asked if her bill (SB 2154) might run afoul of Gov. Charlie Crist’s “plain speaking” mandate for government agencies, Wilson said, “I think getting rid of ‘alien’ would be plain speaking.”

Frederica S. Wilson.

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