New York City’s Commission on Human Rights has announced a new list of words and phrases that could be punishable with a $250,000 fine if uttered within city limits.
Ignoring the Constitutional First Amendment right to free speech, the Commissioners are now prohibiting the use of terms such as “illegal alien, with the intent to demean, humiliate or harass a person.”
Calling Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) with the intent to discriminate could also trigger a fine according to the new rules established by the Commission. The phrase “intent to discriminate” was not clearly defined. Residents can also be fined for derogatory use of the words”illegal alien” and discriminating against individuals based on their limited ability to speak English.
The term “illegal alien” has been a source of contention between social justice activists and conservatives for some time. Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions took the unusual step of ordering the Justice Department to use “illegal alien” when referring to those individuals who enter the country with no documentation. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) pointed out the term is actually used under federal law.
Since Congress has made no move to change the alien terminology, it’s difficult to see how the New York City Human Rights Commission curtailment of free speech rights in the city could be enforced.