Grab the erasers, Illinois is inching closer to scrubbing the term “illegal alien” from state statutes.
In early April, state Rep. Silvana Tabares, D-Chicago, said the idea came from some school children offended by the word.
“They started a campaign and wrote letters to their local legislators to eliminate the word ‘illegal alien’ and replace it with ‘undocumented immigrant,’” Tabares said.
The measure passed with bipartisan support and without debate.
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“A similar measure passed in the state of California, and if it passes here in this state, Illinois will become the second state to eliminate the word ‘alien,’” Tabares said.
Even though he voted for the measure, state Rep. Ron Sandack, R-Downers Grove, asked whether lawmakers will continue to scrub laws featuring other words some people may view as politically incorrect.
“What’s politically correct today and/or, I guess, accepted nomenclature today may be far different next week, next month, ten years,” Sandack said.
Sandack also criticized the push, saying lawmakers are spending time on unimportant issues.
State Rep. Tom Demmer, R-Rochelle, voted for the measure. He said it’s not often lawmakers address these types of issues. The most recent change was addressing a word used for people with developmental or mental disabilities.
“They were referred to with terms that are seen as offensive or derogatory today,” Demmer said.
Demmer said laws passed 50 years ago used words whose meaning has evolved and that may be offensive today.
A similar bill is up for final passage in the Senate.