New York City bans term 'illegal alien,' institutes fines up to $250K

New York City has banned the term “illegal alien” when it is used "with intent to demean, humiliate or harass a person” and instituted fines up to $250,000 for the offense.

The city’s Commission on Human Rights released new guidelines last week to define discrimination on the basis of perceived or actual immigration status or national origin in public accommodations, employment or housing. 

The guidance bans discrimination or harassment against someone for their limited English proficiency or use of another language.

ADVERTISEMENT

In addition, threatening to call Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on someone as a discriminatory measure is now considered a violation of the law.

Hypothetical examples of this kind of discrimination were provided in the commission’s 29-page directive. They included a hotel prohibiting housekeepers from speaking another language because it would “offend” guests or a store owner telling customers speaking Thai to “speak English” or “go back to your country."

"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," Bitta Mostofi, commissioner of the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs, said in a statement to CNN published Tuesday.

The Department of Homeland Security defines "alien" as "any person not a citizen or national of the United States."

President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden slams Trump in new ad: 'The death toll is still rising.' 'The president is playing golf' Brazil surpasses Russia with second-highest coronavirus case count in the world Trump slams Sessions: 'You had no courage & ruined many lives' MORE came under fire in July when he told four nonwhite progressive congresswomen to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” 

The group of freshmen Democrats — Reps.  Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarOvernight Defense: Pentagon memo warns pandemic could go until summer 2021 | Watchdog finds Taliban violence is high despite US deal | Progressive Dems demand defense cuts Progressives demand defense budget cuts amid coronavirus pandemic Ocasio-Cortez endorses progressive Democrat in Georgia congressional primary MORE (D-Minn.), Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibOvernight Defense: Pentagon memo warns pandemic could go until summer 2021 | Watchdog finds Taliban violence is high despite US deal | Progressive Dems demand defense cuts Progressives demand defense budget cuts amid coronavirus pandemic Overnight Energy: 600K clean energy jobs lost during pandemic, report finds | Democrats target diseases spread by wildlife | Energy Dept. to buy 1M barrels of oil MORE (D-Mich.), Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOcasio-Cortez posts experience getting antibody tested for COVID-19 The continuous whipsawing of climate change policy Budowsky: United Democrats and Biden's New Deal MORE (N.Y.) and Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyOvernight Defense: Pentagon memo warns pandemic could go until summer 2021 | Watchdog finds Taliban violence is high despite US deal | Progressive Dems demand defense cuts Progressives demand defense budget cuts amid coronavirus pandemic The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by The American Investment Council - Trump takes his 'ready to reopen' mantra on the road MORE (D-Mass.) — are all U.S. citizens and only Omar was born in another country.

Many on social media began pointing to federal guidance from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that identifies the phrase "Go back to where you came from" as language that could violate anti-discrimination laws in the wake of Trump’s attacks. 

The federal agency, which enforces the government's employment discrimination laws, states that “ethnic slurs and other verbal or physical conduct because of nationality are illegal if they are severe or pervasive and create an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment, interfere with work performance, or negatively affect job opportunities.” 

"Examples of potentially unlawful conduct include insults, taunting, or ethnic epithets, such as making fun of a person's foreign accent or comments like, 'Go back to where you came from,' whether made by supervisors or by co-workers,” it adds.