County Legislature Democrats Introduce Immigrant Protection Act

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Members of the Westchester County Board of Legislators Democratic Caucus introduced an Act Wednesday, aimed to alleviate many of the concerns surrounding inhumane treatment of their immigrant brothers and sisters and the fear working with local law enforcement often instills in them.

The bill, titled the “Immigrant Protection Act”, codifies existing County policy while also drawing from model ordinances put forth by the New York Attorney General’s office with the intent to ensure all Westchester County residents are protected.

“In light of recent events both nationally and locally, existing County policy needs to be made law. Too often our immigrant neighbors are fearful of what may happen to them or their family if they reach out to police to report a crime. Additionally, what the Trump Administration has done through its Executive Order and rumored potential next Executive Orders calls for action to be taken locally – and fast.

What this bill does is say that we as Westchester County taxpayers will not use our resources to assist the Federal Government in tearing apart the fabric of our communities,” said Majority Leader Catherine Borgia (D-Ossining) and author of the bill.

Reports have been heard all across the nation of increased scrutiny of immigrants. From international airports to stores in Columbia County, NY, hard-working people are being questioned about their immigration status based on where they are from or where people think they are from, what they look like, and what they sound like.

“Not only will this bill restrict the County in assisting in any type of un-American ‘round-up’ of immigrants, it will also prevent the County from participating in any type of registry based on race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, or national origin,” said Legislator MaryJane Shimsky (D-Hastings-on-Hudson). “We are a Nation, a State, and certainly County of immigrants. As a resident of this region, I can not stand by idly as I watch what makes Westchester truly great be undermined by short-sighted and bigoted policies.”

“Westchester County is home to all of us. Not just those with the right skin color, or the right sounding name, or the right zip code. All of us,” added Legislator Ken Jenkins (D-Yonkers). “It is our job to make sure that all of our residents feel safe. This means working to erase fear of cooperation if an immigrant is a victim of or witness to a crime, this means working against any attempt to ‘keep tabs on’ on any particular group, and this meaning working to guarantee that all people are treated fairly in our justice system,” concluded Jenkins.

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