New York City has made it against the law to call someone an “illegal alien” or threaten them by calling immigration officials on them.
City Hall’s Commission on Human Rights released the new measures this week that could pose up to a $250,000 fine.
The restrictions say the term “alien” — typically used to refer to a noncitizen — is a loaded phrase meant to categorize migrants as “other” and dehumanize them.
“The use of certain language, including ‘illegal alien’ and ‘illegals,’ with the intent to demean, humiliate, or offend a person or persons constitutes discrimination,” the measure reads.
The directives also list examples of illegal behavior, including threatening to call Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on a noncitizen or harassing them for using a different accent or English abilities.
The Commission on Human Rights said this is partially an opposition to illegal immigration crackdowns by the federal government.
“In the face of increasingly hostile national rhetoric, we will do everything in our power to make sure our treasured immigrant communities are able to live with dignity and respect, free of harassment and bias,” said Carmelyn Malalis, the agency’s commissioner, according to The New York Post.