Cruz, Braun slam Library of Congress for forgoing term 'illegal aliens' to suit 'progressive preference'

Sens. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzFlake meets with Erdoğan in first official duties as US ambassador Senate Republicans press federal authorities for information on Texas synagogue hostage-taker Biden trails generic Republican in new poll, would face tight race against Trump MORE (R-Texas) and Mike BraunMichael BraunBiden administration withdraws its vaccine-or-test mandate for businesses Former Sen. Donnelly confirmed as Vatican ambassador The Memo: Supreme Court, Sinema deliver twin blows to Biden MORE (R-Ind.) criticized the Library of Congress for forgoing the terms “aliens” and “illegal aliens” in its subject headings, claiming it was caving to “progressive preference.”

The two Republican senators said in a letter addressed to Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden on Wednesday that “the LOC’s proposed replacement has nothing to do with Congress’s original instruction — that the LOC ‘consider appropriate sources of common terminology used to refer to a concept, including current statutory language and other legal reference sources; and other sources’ — and everything to do with a progressive preference to control language and take up arms on a ‘political battleground.’ ”

Cruz and Braun also argued that the term “alien” had been included in official government texts — including Supreme Court decisions and the Immigration and Naturalization Act — for centuries, and that “hundreds of years later in 2021, ‘alien’ remains the official term for such persons as codified in federal laws governing citizenship, nationality, and immigration.”

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The two Republicans urged that the Library of Congress forgo the changes, which they deemed “politically motivated” so as not to affect its "neutral indexing language and search functions."

The term "aliens" will hereafter be adjusted in subject headings to "noncitizens," the Library of Congress on Thursday confirmed to NBC News, while "illegal aliens" will be swapped out for "noncitizens" or "illegal immigration."

"The previous subject headings will be retained as a cross reference to the newer subject headings. These broader subject headings more accurately and clearly refer to the issues they cover and will ensure users find library materials regardless of the many different terms that have been used over time," the Library of Congress said in their statement.

Earlier this month, Cruz took issue with Sesame Street’s Big Bird, who tweeted that he had gotten a COVID-19 shot. 

“Government propaganda ... for your 5 year old!” Cruz tweeted in response. Big Bird had also spoken about vaccinations previously. 

Updated 4:18 p.m.