A person who uses the term ‘illegal alien,’ is facing a fine of up to $250,000 in New York, which adopted a new law designed to protect both immigrants and non-immigrants from hate speech.
The city’s Human Rights Commission also will slap hate-motivated individuals with the hefty fine if they are found to have threatened to report someone to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or more commonly referred to as ICE.
The commission released a 29-page directive on the new law Thursday, after working closely with Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Office of Immigrant Affairs.
A person who uses the term ‘illegal alien,’ is facing a fine of up to $250,000 in New York, which adopted a new law designed to protect both immigrants and non-immigrants from hate speech. A tweet from the city (above) announced the more stringent law on Thursday
New York also will slap hate-motivated individuals with the same $250,000 fine if they are found to have threatened to report someone to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement. ICE agents (above) return a Mexican national to authorities in his country
The new restrictions come ‘as we combat the federal government’s rhetoric of fear and xenophobic policies that have threatened the health and well-being of immigrant communities,’ said Bitta Mostofi, commissioner of the immigrant affairs office, in a released statement.
Harassment and discrimination based on one’s actual or perceived immigration status, national origin, limited English proficiency, or accent will never be tolerated in our city of 3.2 million immigrants,’ Mostofi added.
This isn’t the first time the commission has censored what it deemed was harmful speech.
A previous law banned restricted employers and landlords from using gender pronouns other than those chosen by their employees and tenants, and came with a similar $250,000 fine if the rules were broken for “willful, wanton, or malicious conduct,” reports Fox.
The commission’s announcement on Thursday came as Democrats criticized the Trump administration for ICE raids and warned against using”illegal alien.”
“No one is an ‘alien,'” Rep. Ilham Omar, D-Minn., tweeted in June, responding to the president’s use of the term, Fox reports.
Journalists, including the Associated Press, have lobbied for dropping the term, using instead “undocumented immigrant.”
Republican Senator Ted Cruz (pictured above), has defended the use of the term “illegal alien,” noting that it is the official phrase used under federal law.
Those resisting, including Republican Senator Ted Cruz, have noted that “illegal alien” is the official term used under federal law. Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions even specifically directed his Justice Department officials not to use any reference but “illegal alien,” which he argued was based in US code.
Discrimination on the basis of immigration status and national origin were already illegal in New York decades. However, given mounting political pressures to step up enforcement of illegal immigration into the US, the commission chose to add teeth to the consequences for those inspired by hate.
The new restrictions come ‘as we combat the federal government’s rhetoric of fear and xenophobic policies that have threatened the health and well-being of immigrant communities,’ says Bitta Mostofi (above), commissioner of the immigrant affairs office
Guidance in the new directive ‘reaffirms these protections, as well as provides specific examples of discrimination in housing, public accommodations, and employment,’ the commission says in a released statement.
The commission, charged with investigating discrimination and enforcing New York City Human Rights Law based on 26 protected chategories, says the new, tougher consequences go further than ‘many’ other municipalities in ‘protecting the rights of individuals in the workplace, schools, and public accommodations.’
City officials were compelled to act because federal policies are becoming ‘increasingly hostile toward immigrant communities, including immigrants from Central America, African nations, and people from Muslim-majority countries.
The Commission has four active discrimination cases in which ICE was used to intimidate or harass housing tenants. One case involves a landlord who was ordered to pay a $5,000 fine and $12,000 in damages to a tenant for threatening to call ICE on the person.
The specific violations of immigration status and national origin protections include harassment of a restaurant patron because of their accent; refusing repairs on a housing unit occupied by an immigrant family and threatening to call ICE if they complain; paying lower wages or withholding wages to workers because of their immigration status.
The law even protects against telling a store customer to stop speaking a foreign language and demanding they speak English.
The law applies to all businesses in the city, including restaurants, fitness clubs, stores, and nightclubs, and other public spaces, like parks, libraries, healthcare providers, and cultural institutions.