New York City’s Commission on Human Rights announced on Thursday that residents could face up to $250,000 in fines if they use terms such as “illegal alien … with intent to demean, humiliate or harass a person.”
“Hate has no place here,” a tweet from the City of New York read. The city’s announcement ticked off a list of offensive ways to address immigrants — including threatening to call Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), or harassing someone for their “limited English proficiency.”
“Threatening to call ICE when motivated by discrimination, derogatory use of the term ‘illegal alien,’ and discrimination based on limited English proficiency are unlawful discriminatory treatment under the NYC Human Rights Law,” the announcement read.
A document shared on the nyc.gov reads that, “It is illegal for a person’s employer, coworkers, or housing provider such as landlords to use derogatory or offensive terms to intimidate, humiliate, or degrade people, including by using the term “illegal alien,” where its use is intended to demean, humiliate, or offend another person.”
Additionally, it reads, “It is illegal for employers to pay workers lower wages or no wages or threaten to call Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to harass, scare, or intimidate workers because of their immigration status.”
“‘Alien’ — used in many laws to refer to a ‘noncitizen’ person — is a term that may carry negative connotations and dehumanize immigrants, marking them as ‘other,’” reads one passage of the memo.
“The use of certain language, including ‘illegal alien’ and ‘illegals,’ with the intent to demean, humiliate, or offend a person or persons constitutes discrimination.”
The directive goes on to list several examples of acts and comments that would run afoul of the restrictions, including harassing people over their accents or grasp of English, or wielding the threat of a call to Immigration and Customs Enforcement as a tool of hate.