The New York City Commission on Human Rights said using the term "illegal alien" with the intent to "demean, humiliate, or harass a person" can cost offenders up to $250,000, according to new legal enforcement guidance the agency released last week.
The guidance defines discrimination on the basis of perceived or actual immigration status and national origin under the New York City Human Rights Law in public accommodations, employment, and housing, the agency added.
Fines of up to $250,000 can be assessed for each act of willful discrimination, and damages are available to complainants, the news release said.
What else is unlawful?
The guidance also says "harassing or discriminating against someone for their use of another language or their limited English proficiency, and threatening to call ICE on a person based on a discriminatory motive, are considered to be in violation of the law," the agency said.
The news release said the guidance reaffirms protections already in place, provides specific examples of discrimination in housing, public accommodations, and employment — and that NYC human rights law "goes further than many U.S. municipalities in protecting the rights of individuals in the workplace, schools, and public accommodations."
"Federal policy has become increasingly hostile toward immigrant communities, including immigrants from Central America, African nations, and people from Muslim-majority countries," the release added.
What did Mayor Bill de Blasio have to say?
Bill de Blasio, the far-left mayor of New York City, succinctly tweeted his position on the matter: "If you want to come into the ultimate city of immigrants and try to spread hate, you WILL face the consequences."
How did Twitter folks react to the guidance?
Twitter users standing up for free speech weren't pleased with what they said is governmental overreach:
- "Funny how the left always thinks the right is 'taking away rights.' This is government literally taking away free speech rights protected under the constitution. You will not hear a peep from the MSM. I used to be a centrist, but the more I see of this, the further right I go."
- "Is it legal to say screw NYC?"
- "I am an immigrant, and this is bulls**t. A total violation of freedom of speech."
- "Congrats on violating the First Amendment."
- "You have got to be kidding me right now. They just made a LEGAL term illegal!! I was born & raised here but the lunacy comin[g] out of the lawmakers of this city is starting to mirror California's. I'm sickened by it."
- "So NYC 'lawmakers' side more with criminals and now punish those that believe in the rule of law. Saying 'illegal alien' is not hate speech; it's actually just a simple fact if a person sneaks [across] our border."
- "NYC evidently unaware of NY's state constitution: 'Every citizen may freely speak, write and publish his or her sentiments on all subjects.'"
- "This is not only an attack on free speech but the true motivation behind this is to make people second guess to report a problem. The election of 2020 will determine if we begin to see stuff like this on a nationwide scale along with a socialist [government] to drive these policies."