Tuesday, August 8, 2017

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Astorino vows veto of Westchester sanctuary law


Astorino (podium) with John Hodges, chief of investigative services, Westchester County
Department of Public Safety, left, and Lopez

WHITE PLAINS – Several law enforcement officials joined Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino to express their “grave concerns” about the immigrants’ local law that was adopted by the county board of legislators on Monday.

Astorino promised to veto the bill when it comes to his desk saying it puts the rights of all residents, particularly immigrants, at risk.  The bill passed on a 10-5 vote.  Twelve voted are needed for an override.

“It puts Westchester at odds with its own federal government, it creates rights now available to ordinary citizens, it will cost potentially tens of millions of dollars to the county in federal grants and it is very confusing to make it unenforceable, so it really handcuffs our law enforcement and our police officers,” the county exec said.

Astorino called the bill “politics at its worst,” and said just because supporters “say it doesn’t create a sanctuary county, doesn’t make it so.”

Among those siding with the county executive is Hector Lopez, president of the Westchester Hispanic Law Enforcement Association, who said the legislation is not about law abiding citizens or immigrants.

“This act is about providing a safe haven for undocumented immigrants involved in criminal activities,” Lopez said. “The passing of this act will open the doors for undocumented immigrants involved in criminal activities such as the ruthless MS-13 gang to migrant to Westchester and prey on other immigrants, many of whom will not report crime committed against them for fear of retribution.”

George Longworth, commissioner of the county Office of Public Safety, called the law reckless. “I want to be 100 percent clear: This bill is being passed over the objections of Westchester County law enforcement authorities,” Longworth said. “It will make Westchester families and police officers less safe. Anything that inhibits our ability to work with federal law enforcement partners like the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies is a bad and reckless idea.”

 


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