New York City Bans Term ‘Illegal Alien’ In New Anti-Discrimination Guidelines

Those using the phrase with a harmful intent could be fined.

In a sweeping set of anti-discrimination guidelines, New York City banned use of the terms “illegals” and “illegal alien” when they are used with “intent to demean, humiliate or harass a person” in the city of New York.

Those found to violate the guidelines may face a fine of up to $250,000.

The 29 pages of guidelines unveiled by the city’s Commission on Human Rights last week aim to eliminate discrimination stemming from someone’s perceived or actual immigration status and national origin in employment, housing and public accommodations.

The guidelines also ban discrimination against people based on the language they use or limited English proficiency. Threatening to call the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency as a discriminatory move also will violate the guidelines.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security officially defines “alien” as “any person not a citizen or national of the United States.”

The commission provided specific examples of banned discriminatory behavior. These include harassing a restaurant patron because of their accent, demanding that store customers speak English or refusing to repair a unit occupied by an immigrant family and threatening to call ICE if they complain.

“We applaud the issuance of this guidance, which is an important step forward in the fight for respect for immigrants’ humanity and dignity,” Jessie Hahn, a labor and policy attorney with the National Immigration Law Center, said in a statement accompanying the commission’s announcement.

“At a time when hateful political rhetoric is engendering a climate where private employers and landlords are increasingly discriminating and retaliating against immigrant workers and tenants on the basis of their status, these kinds of enforcement actions are urgently needed,” Hahn said.

As part of his efforts to target discrimination statewide, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) signed a bill into law in August banning employers from discriminating against job applicants because of their religious attire and facial hair.

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