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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.

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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 TrumpWhite House denies pausing military aid package to Ukraine Poll: 30 percent of GOP voters believe Trump will 'likely' be reinstated this year Black Secret Service agent told Trump it was offensive to hold rally in Tulsa on Juneteenth: report 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 OmarYoung Turks founder on Democratic establishment: 'They lie nonstop' Hillary Clinton backs Shontel Brown in Ohio congressional race The Hill's Morning Report - Dems to go-it-alone on infrastructure as bipartisan plan falters MORE (D-Minn.), Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibHouse Republicans introduce resolution to censure the 'squad' Progressives rally behind Omar while accusing her critics of bias Omar: I wasn't equating terrorist organizations with democratic countries MORE (D-Mich.), Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezHillary Clinton backs Shontel Brown in Ohio congressional race Ocasio-Cortez, Gillibrand and Moulton call for more high-speed rail funding in infrastructure package Pelosi picks Democrats for special panel tackling inequality MORE (N.Y.) and Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyIt's past time we elect a Black woman governor House Republicans introduce resolution to censure the 'squad' Progressives rally behind Omar while accusing her critics of bias 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.