New York City bans the term, ‘illegal alien,’ fines up to $250K

 NYC has banned the term, “illegal alien,” when used “with intent to demean, humiliate or harass a person” and could fine a person up to $250,000 for doing so.

NYC has also banned discrimination or “harassment against someone for their limited English proficiency or use of another language.

The guidance is for all public accommodations, employment and housing, the city’s Commission on Human Rights said. 

“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,” said Bitta Mostofi, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office and Immigrant Affairs.


NYC Commission on Human Rights gives examples of disparate treatment in public accommodations, employment, and other scenarios:

  • Classmates repeatedly bully a student who wears a hijab at school, calling her an“illegal” and telling her to “take that off, you’re in America now.” The student tells her teacher and the school administration that she is being bullied. The teacher and school administration, despite being aware of the conduct, have not taken the usual, mandatory measures to end the behavior.
  • A store owner tells two friends who are speaking Thai while shopping in his store to “speak English” and “go back to your country.”
  • Hotel staff voluntarily call federal immigration authorities to report the Spanish-sounding names of the guests staying at the hotel because they believe there are

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