Jan. 12, 2017 By Hannah Wulkan
A local politician is working to add immigration status to the list of protected classes under New York’s anti-discrimination rights laws.
State Senator Michael Gianaris has introduced legislation that would make it illegal to discriminate against someone based on their immigration status, and allow victims of hate attacks based on their immigration status to bring civil charges against their attackers.
“Immigrants are under siege like never before and we have an obligation to ensure the safety and well-being of those who came to our country seeking a better life,” Gianaris said.
New York’s Human Rights Law already protects people from discrimination based on age, race, sexual orientation and gender, among others.
“With our president-elect threatening to deport millions of immigrants who came to America to build a better life for themselves and their families, this bill is one way to resist the hate and stand up for a free New York,” said New York Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Donna Lieberman.
The new legislation comes after hate crimes and attacks surged throughout the city following the presidential election in November.
A Muslim Uber driver took a video of a man yelling racist slurs out the window of his car at him in November, adding “Trump is president, a–hole, so you can kiss your f–king visa goodbye, scumbag.”
“Given the current political climate that has been marked by an increase in hate crimes, it is more important than ever that we ensure that New Yorkers, including undocumented New Yorkers, legal permanent residents, visa holders, and others, are equally protected,” said Steven Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition.