New York City’s Commission on Human Rights closed out last week by making an announcement that left many stunned. Under a new law, residents could face up to $250,000 in fines simply if they say certain words, modeling censorship similar to that which was seen early on in Nazi Germany.
The City of New York tweeted out “Hate has no place here,” in effort to explain their decision. If residents use terms such as “illegal alien … with intent to demean, humiliate or harass a person,” they would face these hefty fines.
Additional items on the list of offensive things that residents are being forced to avoid include threatening to call Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or discussing someone’s “limited English proficiency.”
“Threatening to call ICE when motivated by discrimination, derogatory use of the term ‘illegal alien,’ and discrimination based on limited English proficiency are unlawful discriminatory treatment under the NYC Human Rights Law,” the announcement read.
It clarified that calling ICE with a “discriminatory motive” was a violation. It was not immediately clear what New York City would consider a call to ICE lacking in “discriminatory motive.”
“Fines of up to $250,000 can be assessed for each act of willful discrimination, and damages are available to complainants,” the city said.
“The NYC Commission on Human Rights … defines discrimination on the basis of perceived or actual immigration status and national origin under the New York City Human Rights Law in public accommodation, employment, and housing,” the announcement read.
Composed of political appointees, the Commission has shown itself to have a history of violating the first amendment via censorship. They previously enacted a ban on employers and landlords using gender pronouns other than those preferred by employees and tenants. Violations of those regulations similarly carried a $250,000 fine if the offenders engaged in “willful, wanton, or malicious conduct.”
Thursday’s announcement came as Democrats and their pundits in the media tied to attack the administration for immigration enforcement raids as well as cautioning against using the term “illegal alien.”
Republican Senator Ted Cruz on the other hand, pointed out that the term “illegal alien” is the official term used under federal law.
Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions gave specific direction to his Justice Department to use no term other than “illegal alien,” which he said was based in U.S. code. “The word ‘undocumented’ is not based in US code and should not be used to describe someone’s illegal presence in the country,” Sessions said in an agency-wide email.
Even the Associated Press has tried to steer their reporters away from using the term “illegal” as a descriptor for immigrants, by heavily punishing them for doing so.
The wire service’s 2013 style guide, was also updated to read: “Except in direct quotes essential to the story, use illegal only to refer to an action, not a person: illegal immigration, but not illegal immigrant. Acceptable variations include living in or entering a country illegally or without legal permission.”