FAIR Calls NYC’s Attempt to Ban Use of Term ‘Illegal Alien,’ “A Heavy-Handed Attack on Freedom of Speech, the Rule of Law”
Despite its use by the U.S. Supreme Court, many U.S. presidents and some of the nation’s top newspapers, New York City is now attempting to chill legitimate political speech with threats of fines that would bankrupt most citizens for invoking the legal term ‘illegal alien.’
(October 3, 2019, Washington, D.C.) — New guidelines released by the New York City Commission on Human Rights attempt to ban the use of the term “illegal alien” by implementing severe fines against members of the public. This measure will have a severe, chilling effect on freedom of speech and render it nearly impossible to have an open discussion about immigration law enforcement, says Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).
“This is nothing more than an attempt by open borders advocates to attack and undermine immigration enforcement by banning the use of key contextual words,” said Stein. “The new rule provides that use of the term ‘illegal alien’ could result in a fine of up to $250,000, so long as someone feels that the term is being used to ‘demean, humiliate or harass a person,’ which could incite radicals as charging that any form of conversation about immigration is harassment.”
The term “illegal alien” was codified into federal law with the passage of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 when referring to those who are in this country illegally. “Despite its use by the U.S. Supreme Court, many U.S. presidents and some of the nation’s top newspapers, New York City is now attempting to chill legitimate political speech with threats of fines that would bankrupt most citizens for invoking the legal term ‘illegal alien,’” said Stein.
By law, any person who resides in the United States of America, but is not a U.S. citizen, is classified as an “alien.” Aliens who do not enter the United States through proper channels, or who overstay their visas, are in the country illegally. Therefore, those aliens who are in the United States unlawfully are correctly known as “illegal aliens.”
In issuing its support of the new guidelines, the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Rights made clear that this is actually an attempt to fight back at efforts by the Trump Administration to regain control of America’s immigration policies. The Mayor’s office noted that they were glad to “combat the federal government's rhetoric of fear and xenophobic policies.”
“This is a clear over-reach by mass immigration advocates to censor any open discussion on immigration and thus make it impossible to discuss one of the nation’s most pressing issues,” said Stein. “This should not be allowed to stand.”
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