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Immigration Act Expected To Come Up For Vote In Westchester

The Immigration Protection Act was voted out of committee Monday.
The Immigration Protection Act was voted out of committee Monday. Photo Credit: Contributed

This story has been updated.

Legislators are hoping The Immigration Protection Act will be up for a vote at Monday's meeting of the Westchester County Board of Legislators.

The bill was discussed at last Monday's meeting after legislators met with members of County Executive Rob Astorino's administration, including Deputy County Executive Kevin Plunkett and George Longworth, commissioner of public safety.

"The county executive's office has been trying to put pressure on us to delay the bill," Joseph Sgamatto, press secretary for the Democratic caucus, said. "We forced their hand and made them come to the table. They want to introduce their own legislation. This is not something in [Astorino's] wheelhouse."

Astorino's office said the bill has taken time because it is has been written and re-written many times in various committees and the county executive is not delaying the bill.

The Immigrant Protection Act says the county will not use county resources, facilities, and manpower to assist Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Sgamatto said someone pulled over by the police would not be questioned about their immigration status. He said the bill was crafted to avoid any issues with federal legislation that would cause the county to lose funding.

"This is not a sanctuary bill," Sgamatto said.

Plunkett, Longsworth and other commissioners spoke of the possible ramifications of not working with the federal government on various issues.

Sgamatto said there has been a lot of interest in the bill and that he believes there is a veto-proof majority in the legislature to pass the bill.

"There's always a chance the county executive could veto," Sgamatto said. "He's been supportive of President Donald Trump's agenda. But I don't think someone who speaks Spanish and said he wants to be a friend to the immigrant community can veto something as simple as this.

Gerald McKinstry, a spokesman for Astorino, said the county executive is working closely with the Board of Legislators to come up with a bipartisan bill that balances public safety concerns with the interests of all immigrant communities throughout Westchester.

“Although the bill before the board has been through many iterations since it was first introduced in February," McKinstry said. "The final version must protect the constitutional rights of all citizens, not jeopardize public safety and respect the fact that we are a nation of laws.”

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