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States Debate Whether Or Not To Drop 'Dehumanizing' Terms For Immigrants

AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM/AP) - Some states are considering dropping terms for immigrants that have been criticized as "dehumanizing."

Earlier this year, California and Colorado banned state agencies from using the word "alien" to refer to immigrants who entered the US without permission.

Supporters of the change say the word is demeaning and dehumanizing, and can have an impact on the treatment of immigrants.

The Biden administration took a similar step for federal agencies, changing the preferred terminology to "noncitizen" or "migrant."

Officials are also discouraged from using the term "illegal" when discussing an undocumented immigrant, and from using the term "assimilation" instead of "integration."

However, many states continue to use the controversial terms.

That includes Texas, where a legislative effort to end its use recently failed.

Texas Republicans, including Governor Greg Abbott, have been fiercely critical of the Biden administration's efforts on immigration.

Just this month, Abbott blamed Biden's immigration policies for "an uptick in deadly drugs like fentanyl, dangerous gang activity, and human trafficking across our state."

While Abbott and other Republicans argue that efforts like building border walls and increasing law enforcement's involvement in immigration are necessary to maintain safety, others have criticized these efforts as "inhumane," "counterproductive," and "illegal."

In a press release from June, the ACLU of Texas said that Abbott's policies are "unlawful" and "violate the US Constitution" by attempting to supersede federal law.

"Noncitizens in the US have the legal right to seek asylum and other protections. Arresting and detaining immigrants due to their immigration status or as a result of enforcing or altering federal immigration law is unconstitutional."

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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