NYC outlaws use of term 'illegal alien,' violators subject to $250K fine

New York City with a view of the Statue of Liberty. (Shutterstock/Resul Muslu)
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NEW YORK CITY (WTHR) — It's against the law to use the term "illegal alien" in New York, according to NYC's Commission on Human Rights.

New guidelines state that the "use of the term “illegal alien,” among others, when used with intent to demean, humiliate, or harass a person, is illegal under the law.

The guidance also says that harassing or discriminating against someone for their use of another language or limited English proficiency and threatening to call ICE on a person based on a discriminatory motive, is also a violation of the law.

“We take immense pride in our city’s diversity and the immigrant communities that call New York City home,” said Deputy Mayor Phil Thompson. “This new legal enforcement guidance will help ensure that no New Yorker is discriminated against based on their immigration status or national origin. "

Other violations in the state in reference to the Commission guidance are:

  • Harassing a restaurant patron because of their accent
  • Refusing repairs on a unit occupied by an immigrant family and threatening to call ICE if they complain
  • Paying a lower wage or withholding wages to workers because of their immigration status
  • Harassing a store customer by telling them to stop speaking their language and demanding they speak English

"Today’s guidance makes abundantly clear that there is no room for discrimination in NYC," Carmelyn Malalis, the commission's chair and commissioner, said in a statement.