New York City has become the first major U.S. city to outlaw the use of terms such as ‘alien’ and ‘illegal’ when referring to immigrants in local legal documentation.
The terms will now be replaced with ‘noncitizen’.
NYC City Council passed the bill on Thursday that will get rid of the terms ‘alien’, ‘illegal immigrant’ and ‘illegal migrant’ from local laws, rules, orders, city documents and other materials.
Those who supported the legislation said the terms were used to ‘dehumanize’ people and praised the decision to remove them at a time when they claim the White House is engaging in ‘racist rhetoric’.
The bill was passed by 46 of the 50 city council members present.
New York City has become the first major U.S. city to outlaw the use of terms such as ‘alien’ and ‘illegal’ when referring to immigrants in local legal documentation calling the terms ‘degrading’. Pictured, New Yorkers arrested for protesting immigration camps
City Council Speaker Corey Johnson welcomed the decision by NYC to become the first major U.S. city to outlaw the use of terms ‘alien’ and ‘illegal’ when referring to immigrants
‘No human being is illegal,’ said City Council Speaker Corey Johnson 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 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Queens City Councilman Francisco Moya, who said it was not a question of political correctness but that the terms were outdated.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‘These words are outdated, and loaded words used to dehumanize the people they describe.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 co-sponsored by seven city council members from across Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan.
Commissioner of NYC Immigrant Affairs, Bitta Mostofi, said that the decision came ‘at a time when the federal government is engaged in divisive policies and racist rhetoric’
The four that voted against included Staten Island’s Joe Borelli and Steven Matteo, Queens’ Robert Holden and Brooklyn’s Kalman Yeger.
Matteo claims that he voted against the legislation as it important to differentiate between different kinds of immigrants and noncitizens.
‘Not all noncitizens are the same. 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, according to Staten Island Live.
Mayor Bill de Blasio must now sign the bill into law and the legislation will take effect 60 days after its enactment.
It will not affect any direct references in the City Charter or Administrative Code to a federal law or program.
According to Fox News, New York City’s Commission on Human Rights has already issued guidance making it illegal to use the terms ‘illegals’ or ‘illegal alien’ with the ‘intent to demean, humiliate or harass a person’ last October.
The guidance made the use of the terms in this manner punishable by a fine of up to $250,000.
Source: dailymail US