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In legal use, an alien is a foreigner who is not a subject of the country in which he lives. Because they live in there, they are often called also "resident alien".

In popular fiction and conspiracy theories, alien is a term that is often used to refer to life forms, especially intelligent life forms, that are of extraterrestrial origin, i.e. not coming from the Earth. Prime examples of how aliens are viewed are found in the movies Alien, E.T., and Independence Day.

A peculiarity of this usage is its ethnocentricity: when humans in fictional accounts accomplish interstellar travel and land on a planet elsewhere in the universe, the local inhabitants of these other planets are usually still referred to as "alien," even though they are the native life form and the humans are the intruders. This may be seen as a reversion to the classic meaning of "alien" as referring to "other," in contrast to "us" in the context of the writer's frame of reference. Similarly, in the United States, alien can refer to an illegal immigrant; see immigration and naturalization.

See also

Keyhoe, Donald

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