The city of New York’s Commission on Human Rights has decided that illegal aliens need more protection from the law than American citizens. So they passed an ordinance that not only makes it illegal to threaten to call immigration authorities on a suspected illegal, but you could be fined $250,000 just for saying “illegal alien.”
This is not The Onion.
You can call an American anything you want — any vile, vulgar, obscenity in the book — and not be punished for it. This ordinance would seem to grant extraordinary protections to those in the United States illegally.
The key word being “intent.” The city is no longer content to police speech; it is now policing the meaning behind speech. Because of this, the law will likely be challenged as a violation of the First Amendment.
Typical anti-discrimination and anti-harassment laws provide limiting conditions, thanks to existing Supreme Court precedent. These conditions require evidence of “severe or pervasive” conduct that can “objectively” prove harassment or discrimination, as Hans Bader, an attorney and former official in the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights, noted.
New York City’s new guidance goes a step further, making it clear that evidence of “severity or pervasive” conduct is “only relevant to the damages” caused by said conduct. This leaves the door wide open for city officials to interpret politically incorrect statements as they see fit, stripping anti-discrimination statutes of objectivity and allowing bureaucrats and victims alike to claim subjective “damages” where there might not be any.
I’ve always wondered what snowflake illegal is “offended” by being called an “illegal alien.” The federal government of the United States refers to those who are in the country illegally as “illegal aliens” — at least four times in the statute books.
Section 1252(c) of the “Aliens and Nationality” laws is titled: “Authorizing State and local law enforcement officials to arrest and detain certain illegal aliens.” The section authorizes state and local law enforcement officials “to arrest and detain an individual who— (1) is an alien illegally present in the United States; and (2) has previously been convicted of a felony in the United States and deported or left the United States after such conviction.”
Section 1365, titled “Reimbursement of States for costs of incarcerating illegal aliens and certain Cuban nationals,” applies to any alien convicted of a felony who’s in the country unlawfully and whose most recent entry “was without inspection, or whose most recent admission to the United States was as a nonimmigrant and whose period of authorized stay as a nonimmigrant expired, or whose unlawful status was known to the government.”
Those human rights lawyers are going to be busy prosecuting federal officials because they’re breaking their idiotic law.
As the Examiner‘s Kaylee Mcghee points out, “there’s a big difference between what you should say and what you can say.” This is the bane of politically correct speech. Because in trying to keep people’s feelings from being hurt, they’re shredding the Constitution’s right of free expression.
We live in dangerous times.