The New York City Commission on Human Rights on Thursday made it illegal to call someone an "illegal alien" or threatening to call Immigration and Customs Enforcement on them. Those who partake in either of these so-called "hateful" acts can be fined up to $250,000 per offense, the Washington Times reported. The Commission took issue with the word "alien" because it's used as a means of dehumanizing non-citizens.
“‘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.”
According to the New York Post, the memo provides specific examples of what they are deeming to be illegal:
“A hotel prohibits its housekeepers from speaking Spanish while cleaning because it would ‘offend’ hotel guests or make them uncomfortable,” reads one hypothetical.
“An Indian immigrant family complains to their landlord about mold and cockroaches in their unit. The landlord tells them to ‘just deal with it’ and threatens to call ICE if they file a complaint in housing court,” reads another.
“A store owner tells two friends who are speaking Thai while shopping in his store to ‘speak English’ and ‘go back to your country,’ ” reads a third.
The declaration comes after Mayor Bill de Blasio was outspoken about his opposition to immigration raids and crackdowns. This measure is said to be another way the city is rebuking the crackdown.
“In the face of increasingly hostile national rhetoric, we will do everything in our power to make sure our treasured immigrant communities are able to live with dignity and respect, free of harassment and bias,” said Carmelyn Malalis, the agency’s commissioner, told the Post.