How long do aliens stay aliens?



This past weekend I picked up an old miniseries from the 1980s called the Sword of the Atom.  The basic plot revolves around Ray Palmer searching for a source of white dwarf star matter in the Brazilian rain forest only to be stuck at miniature size and to confront a group of miniature aliens that have been living on the rainforest floor for some time.  This is kind of a fantasy setting, except instead of fighting gigantic ferocious creatures such as dragons or ogres, the people fighting equally dangerous creatures (for their size) like snakes and rats.  After having crashed their space ship some time ago, they have long since reverted to a barbarian style of life, where they have to battle to stay alive.   It raises an interesting question though – at what point can something no longer claim to be an alien.  

In a sense this is comparable to immigration.  At what point does an immigrant (or even illegal immigrant) become a citizen?  Well in most cases it is when they are born in a specific country or if they have done the necessary measures to prove they are a citizen.  In some countries this is easy, for instance in Canada once you receive permanent residence you can apply to become a citizen three years later provided you have lived in the country.  In other countries such as Germany the regulation are a lot stricter and people can wait a lot longer before they are considered citizens.  If being born in a place is sufficient to making someone a citizen is it enough for aliens?  These aliens in the Brazilian jungle or even Superman (who is considered to have been born by some on Earth) may have been born here but are still considered aliens though.  

In terms of aliens then another factor has to be considered, and that is that of biology.  Everything living thing on Earth was created here and evolved here.  Even if the building blocks of life were found on comets which impacted Earth billions of years ago, this does not make any life on Earth any less Terran.  In terms of humans most consider that humans stopped evolving from the point that we turned from hunter/gatherer to agriculture and formed societies as opposed to bands or tribes.  If this same reasoning can be applied to an alien species which has been on Earth, even if it has been here for many generations, as long as there was a society it would have evolved.   Evolution in a sense proves whether there is a niche in the natural order which a creature can call its own.  Members of a civilization would not really have achieved this niche, or if they had they would have made cultural and societal changes, not biological ones.  

In terms of when an alien stops being an alien, there is no obvious answer.   There are no ready examples of administrative protocol which a country can use to define, nor is there anything to say that they have really adapted themselves to Earth.  I guess in the most obvious sense, you could look at it and consider that if they are here and so are we, that we are all in it together.

Posted by SC
I don't drink coffee I take tea my dear, I like my toast done on the side, and you can hear it in my accent when I talk, I'm an.. wait a minute, I am not an Englishman or a Jamaican.. I am an alien though... a legal alien. I think we are all legal aliens.. or ern.. legal natives. Maybe a bit of both. Of course rule of the jungle and that of the law...  
Great blog! 
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