The city’s Commission on Human Rights releases a new 29-page directive that outlaws threaten someone with a call to immigration authorities or refer to them as an “illegal alien”.
The directive reads “‘Alien’ — used in many laws to refer to a ‘noncitizen’ person — is a term that may carry negative connotations and dehumanize immigrants, marking them as ‘other,'...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 directive goes on to list several examples of acts and comments that would run afoul of the restrictions, including harassing people over their accents or grasp of English, or wielding the threat of a call to Immigration and Customs Enforcement as a tool of hate.
One hypothetical reads “A hotel prohibits its housekeepers from speaking Spanish while cleaning because it would ‘offend’ hotel guests or make them uncomfortable...An Indian immigrant family complains to their landlord about mold and cockroaches in their unit. The landlord tells them to ‘just deal with it’ and threatens to call ICE if they file a complaint in housing court...A store owner tells two friends who are speaking Thai while shopping in his store to ‘speak English’ and ‘go back to your country.’”
The Commission on Human Rights made clear that the directive is, at least in part, a rebuke of federal crackdowns on illegal immigration. The agency commissioner says “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.” This comes as de Blasio’s office announces that they will spend $1 million on legal services to help illegal immigrants fight deportation.