The New York City Council announced on Thursday that it will no longer allow the “dehumanizing” and “offensive term” “alien” or “illegal immigrant” to describe individuals in the conduction of official city business.
The city will now use “noncitizen” to describe everyone who is not a citizen, blurring the distinction between a green card holder, a refugee, a temporary guest worker, a tourist, and an illegal alien.
A breach of the new law could result in up to a $250,000 fine.
“BREAKING: New York City just became the first major U.S. city to prohibit the use of the dehumanizing and offensive term ‘alien’ in local laws, rules, and documents. From now on, the term will be ‘noncitizen,’” City Council Speaker Corey Johnson tweeted.
BREAKING: New York City just became the first major U.S. city to prohibit the use of the dehumanizing and offensive term "alien" in local laws, rules, and documents. From now on, the term will be "noncitizen."
— NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson (@NYCSpeakerCoJo) May 28, 2020
“No human being is illegal,” Johnson said in a statement. “This degrading terminology never belonged in our laws, in our language, or in our lives. By taking this step, New York City would become the first major city in the United States to remove these offensive terms from its laws. It is my hope that other big cities will follow suit.”
The Daily Mail reported on New York City being the “first major U.S. city” to regulate speech in this manner:
The legislation was sponsored by Queens City Councilman Francisco Moya, who said it was not a question of political correctness but that the terms were outdated. Moya added that they are often used to degrade an undocumented person.
“These words are outdated, and loaded words used to dehumanize the people they describe. It’s time to retire them,” Moya said. “Words matter. The language we choose to use has power and consequences. It’s time we as a city use our language to acknowledge people as people, rather than to dehumanize them and divide us.”
The vote was also applauded by commissioner of NYC Immigrant Affairs, Bitta Mostofi, who stated: ‘At a time when the federal government is engaged in divisive policies and racist rhetoric, we are proud to have worked within the administration with the council to show that there is a better way, one that recognizes the humanity of New Yorkers.’
The legislation was championed by seven city council members from Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan, the Mail reported.
Steven Matteo was one of four council members who voted against the law, claiming that it is important to differentiate the difference in immigrant status.
“Not all noncitizens are the same” Matteo said, according to Staten Island Live. “Some are tourists, students, or temporary or permanent legal residents, while others have entered and/or remain in this country unlawfully.”
“This legislation is an ill-conceived attempt to erase these important distinctions from all city government publications,” Matteo said.
“Mayor Bill de Blasio must now sign the bill into law and the legislation will take effect 60 days after its enactment,” the Mail reported. “It will not affect any direct references in the City Charter or Administrative Code to a federal law or program.”
As Breitbart News reported, last year, New York City’s Commission on Human Rights made using the term “illegal alien” discriminatory.
“Furthermore, the use of the terms ‘illegal alien’ and ‘illegals,’ with the intent to demean, humiliate, or offend a patron, amounts to unlawful discrimination under the [New York City Human Rights Law],” the document released by the commission stated.
The document added that use of these terms “may carry negative connotations and dehumanize immigrants, marking them as ‘other.’”
The infraction of that law also could lead to up to a $250,000 fine.
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