Ted Cruz's triumphant return to the Senate: Fighting to require the Library of Congress use the offensive term "illegal aliens"

Cruz made his short-lived return to the halls of Congress last week only to scurry off to vacation this week

By Sophia Tesfaye
May 19, 2016 11:58PM (UTC)
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(AP/Patrick Semansky)

Ted Cruz is back terrorizing his colleagues in Congress after being rejected by Republican voters nationwide.

Well, not quite. Cruz, of course, lost the presidential primary to Donald Trump but he isn't back walking the halls of the Senate again -- at least not right now.


After a few days out of the spotlight following the suspension of his presidential campaign, Cruz returned to the Senate last week (where he is the most reviled man) only to be ignored while the D.C. press swarmed his former rival's meeting with another ambitious and smug conservative lawmaker, Paul Ryan:

Less than a week later, the freshman Tea Party senator announced that he had already had enough of his day job and was returning to Texas to decompress from the campaign trail, leaving behind crucial Zika legislation and a bizarre series of videos threatening a second run for the White House.

Despite his anxiousness to leave D.C. only days after his return, Cruz was apparently so adamant about one pressing issue that his official senate account tweeted out a letter from the senator while he was already on vacation Thursday:


What you can't read in Cruz's tiny letter to the Library of Congress is his accusation that a recent decision to "eliminate the terms 'illegal alien' and 'alien' wrongly puts political correctness above the rule law."

The American Library Association recently petitioned the nation's library to instead use terms term like “noncitizens” and “un-authorized immigration” to describe undocumented immigrants in search terms and cataloging. In March, the library said the term “illegal alien” had “taken on a pejorative tone in recent years” and that it could in fact refer to those from another planet.

On Monday, House Republicans on the Appropriations Committee, upset by the library's change, reinstated the use of "illegal alien," arguing that the library had overstepped and had privately acknowledged its error.


Joined by Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama and two Texas congressman, Cruz's letter to the library condemned the change of the offensive terms and called on the library to immediately revoke all changes.

“These terms are legal terms of art that have been enacted into law by Congress. If individuals want to revise terms in the United States Code, they can only do so by passing legislation,” Cruz and his colleagues wrote.


The 25-24 vote Tuesday in favor of reinstating the offensive language was part of the legislative process regarding the approval of the annual spending bill that funds Congress and Cruz's letter is also an effort to sway the final vote.

The full measure comes before the House in the next week or two.

Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's Deputy Politics Editor and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Illegal Alines Immigration Library Of Congress Ted Cruz