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NYC Threatens $250,000 Fine For Calling Someone 'Illegal Alien' Out Of Hate

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – New York City has banned the phrase "illegal alien" when used to "demean, humiliate, or harass" someone.

It's also illegal to threaten to call U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on someone based on a "discriminatory motive," or to harass someone for speaking another language or for struggling to speak English.

Violators could face a fine of up to $250,000.

The city's human rights commission, which enforces the NYC Human Rights Law, announced the new guidance last week.

"The New York City Human Rights Law is one of the most protective in the nation," Chair and Commissioner Carmelyn Malalis said in a statement. "It protects everyone, regardless of their immigration status. 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. Today's guidance makes abundantly clear that there is no room for discrimination in NYC."

The commission said it's currently investigating four cases in which the threat to call ICE was used to intimidate housing tenants.

The new guidance applies to housing and employment discrimination, but also extends to public spaces like restaurants, gyms, stores, nightclubs, parks, libraries, health care providers and cultural institutions.

If you think you have been the victim of discrimination under the NYC Human Rights Law, call the commission's infoline at 718-722-3131 or dial 311 and ask for Human Rights. Reports may also be filed anonymously on the commission's website.

Click here to read the commission's full guidance on immigration status and national origin discrimination.

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