Democrat Virginia Perez (podium) "No one knows the fears and struggles ... like
another immigrant" (Facebook)
WHITE PLAINS – By a 10 to five vote, the Westchester County Board
of Legislators voted Monday to approve a county immigration law.
Lawmakers who support the measure said it is not a sanctuary city bill,
but rather one that protects everyone.
Opponents said it would tie the hands of law enforcement to do their job
protecting the public.
In part, the measure reads:
The County of Westchester shall not utilize County monies, facilities,
property, equipment, or personnel to investigate, enforce, or assist in
the investigation or enforcement of any federal program requiring registration
of individuals on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion,
ethnicity, or national origin.
§ 2. (i) No County officer or employee may respond affirmatively
to a United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”)
or Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) request for non-public
information about an individual-including but not limited to non-public
information about an individual’s release from the custody of the
Department of Public Safety or the Department of Corrections, home address,
or work address, unless the request is accompanied by a judicial warrant.
County Legislator Virginia Perez, a native of the Dominican Republic,
said, “No one knows the fear and struggles of an immigrant like
another immigrant, and that is exactly what I am, a Hispanic immigrant,
and a proud one.”
She talked of the difficulty her parents had in becoming US citizens including
being ripped off by someone who scammed them out of thousands of dollars.
“Because of their fear of having our family ripped apart, that crime
went unreported. I remember my parents crying and having no one to talk
to. I remember feeling helpless and hopeless,” she said. “I
couldn’t help my parents back then, but by supporting this act,
I am going to help many, many immigrant parents now.”
Legislator Benjamin Boykin said the measure addresses a public safety
“Unless you are a Native American,” we are all immigrants,”
Kenneth Jenkins noted.
But, Legislator James Maisano opposed the bill saying it does not do what
it was intended to do.
Another opponent, Gordon Burrows said it is not needed and not necessary
and he said the county stands to lose as much as $13 million if the Trump
Administration withholds funding as a result of its passage.
“Immigrants are welcomed into this county; immigrants are valued.
This county treats people the way I think people should be treated,”
he said. “We are not talking about other communities around the
Opponents noted county law enforcement officials and the Westchester Hispanic
Law Enforcement Association oppose the measure. County Executive Robert
Astorino promised to veto the bill when it reaches his desk.
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