New York City has banned the use of the term ‘illegal alien’ to ‘demean, humiliate, or harass a person’, the New York City Commission on Human Rights said.
The new law, announced at the end of September, also banned discrimination against another individual based on their English proficiency as well as threats to call immigration authorities on someone ‘based on a discriminatory motive’. Those in violation of these new laws can face fines of up to $250,000.
“We take immense pride in our city’s diversity and the immigrant communities that call New York City home,” Deputy Mayor Phil Thompson said in a statement. “This new legal enforcement guidance will help ensure that no New Yorker is discriminated against based on their immigration status or national origin.”
As per the Department of Homeland Security, an ‘alien’ is defined as ‘any person not a citizen or national of the United States.”
To help us all out, The New York City Commission on Human Rights, in a press release, listed a series of hypothetical examples of violations:
Examples of violations include things like:
- refusing to repair a housing unit occupied by an immigrant family or threatening to notify Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) if they complain
- harassing a restaurant patron because of their accent
- A store owner telling people speaking a foreign language to ‘speak English’ or ‘go back to your country’
- A business prohibiting employees from speaking another language because it would ‘offend’ patrons
“We are proud to have worked with the NYC Commission on Human Rights to produce and release this important guidance as we combat the federal government’s rhetoric of fear and xenophobic policies that have threatened the health and well-being of immigrant communities,” stated Bitta Mostofi, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office and Immigrant Affairs.
In September, a New York judge ordered a landlord to pay $17,000 for threatening to call ICE on one of his tenants who’s in the country illegally. After hearing about the ‘incident’, the New York City Commission on Human Rights filed a formal complaint on the tenant’s behalf, citing the landlord’s so-called ‘discrimination’ against her.