NYC Commission on Human Rights Issues Enforcement Guidance on Immigration Status and National Origin Discrimination

The New York City Commission on Human Rights recently issued a document titled “Legal Enforcement Guidance on Discrimination on the Basis of Immigration Status and National Origin“.

It begins by summarizing and outlining the contributions that immigrants has made to New York City:

Approximately 3.2 million New York City residents were born outside of the United States, representing 37% of the City’s population.1 Nearly 1.4 million New York City residents, or 16% of the population, are noncitizens.2 More than 50% of children in New York City have a foreign-born parent, 3 and approximately 60% of New Yorkers live in a household with at least one immigrant.4 New York is also among the most linguistically diverse cities in the world, with hundreds of languages being spoken throughout the five boroughs.

Millions of immigrants have settled in New York City. They have built homes, communities, and businesses; they lead houses of worship, non-profit organizations, corporations, small businesses, City agencies, and educational institutions; and they continuously contribute—in immeasurable ways—to the fabric of this City.

It then outlines the legal protections provided by the New York City Human Rights Law – which is one of the most protective civil rights laws in the country – with respect to national origin and immigration status.

It explains, inter alia, that the term “Alien” “is a term that may carry negative connotations and dehumanize immigrants, marking them as ‘other'” and that “the use of certain language, including ‘illegal alien’ and ‘illegals,’ with the intent to demean, humiliate, or offend a person or persons constitutes discrimination under the NYCHRL.”

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