Denver Proposals Would Remove “Illegal Alien” From City Law, Ban Discrimination Against Protective Hairstyles | Government
Denver City Council will consider a pair of equity proposals that would amend the city’s charter to remove the term “illegal alien” and add a provision prohibiting discrimination based on protective hairstyles.
The council’s security committee unanimously adopted the proposals on Wednesday, sending them to the full council for a final vote in the coming weeks.
These proposals come from the Denver Anti-Discrimination Office, established in 1990 to work to end discrimination in the city.
“We are doing this work for our community,” said Kim Desmond, Acting Chief Equities Officer. “We want to make sure this government is inclusive, efficient and fair. “
The first proposal would modify the articles of the city code that use the term “illegal alien”, replacing it with “unauthorized worker”.
Historically, the term “illegal alien” has been used to describe a person who is not a citizen or national of the United States. However, many advocates have raised issues with the terminology in recent years, calling it offensive and dehumanizing.
“The term illegal alien criminalizes individuals, but it also dehumanizes our residents solely on the basis of their immigration status,” said Atim Otii, director of the Bureau of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs.
Otii said the new terminology is person-centered and focuses on the context in which it is used, as it is used in public service contracts regarding the employment of a person without a work permit.
In April, the state of Colorado passed similar legislation, replacing “illegal alien” with “unauthorized worker” in public service contracts.
President Joe Biden’s administration has also moved away from the term “illegal alien,” ordering federal agencies, US immigration and customs, and Customs and Boredom Protection to use instead. “Undocumented citizen”.
“When I read contracts and see that term ‘alien’, it’s a trigger for me,” said city councilor Amanda Sandoval. “Thank you for doing these things and for keeping this space, I think it’s so important.”
The second proposal would add protective hairstyles to Denver’s anti-discrimination ordinance.
This would prohibit discrimination in public education, employment, housing, public housing, and advertising because of hair texture, hair type, or protective hairstyle.
It comes as society has begun to recognize that the stigma against hair texture and hairstyles perpetuates racism and racial prejudice, typically against people of African, Jewish, Latin or Native American descent, said the Bureau’s Darius Smith. anti-discrimination.
“The company has used hair texture, hair types and protective hairstyles in conjunction with skin color to discriminate against people,” Smith said. “Communities suffer harmful discrimination in employment, housing, education… based on long-standing racial stereotypes.
Colorado passed its own hair discrimination law in March 2020, the Crown Act, led by Rep. Leslie Herod who said she faced the problem growing up, being told she had to straighten her hair to look professional or beautiful.
In March 2021, eight states in the United States passed their own Crown laws to ban hair discrimination, according to Global Citizen.
Both Denver’s proposals received support from the Mayor’s Office for Social Equity and Innovation, the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, Economic Development and Opportunity, the Office of Anti-Discrimination and the city attorney’s office.
Both proposals will need to pass two full city council votes before being implemented.
“We’re starting to see this shift, I think, in our municipal agencies,” said Council Chair Stacie Gilmore, in support of the proposals. “People are ready to answer these fairness questions.”