WPCNR COUNTY CLARION-LEDGER. Special to WPCNR from the Service Employees International Union 32BJ September 25, 2017:
On Monday evening, before a packed gallery of immigrant rights supporters, the Westchester County Board of Legislators failed to override County Executive Rob Astorino’s veto of the Westchester Immigrant Protection Act by a single vote, in a vote of 11 to 6 (all Democratic Legislators voted for the override, as did two Republicans).
Despite passing the Board on August 7 with bipartisan support, the bill was vetoed by the county executive at the end of August, setting up Monday’s override attempt.
Last week Astorino also issued an executive order on undocumented immigrants that weakened a previous county directive and failed to extend the full protections of the Immigration Protection Act.
The Act would have clarified and regulated the separation of local law enforcement from federal immigration enforcement, protecting the civil rights of immigrants and improving the safety of all county residents.
Majority Leader Catherine Borgia, the lead sponsor of the bill, has promised to reintroduce the bill this week. The following comments demonstrate the breadth of support for the act:
“We are disappointed but undeterred by the failure to override the county executive’s veto. With bullying threats, indiscriminate arrests, and arbitrary travel bans coming from the White House, immigrants of all statuses are rightfully nervous about interacting with any government official.
In the face of this terrifying belligerence, Westchester needs the strong protections afforded by the Immigrant Protection Act. Over the coming months, we will be working hard for candidates we have endorsed who would respect this need in the future.
According to U.S. Census figures, over a quarter of the residents of Westchester County are foreign born. When County Executive Astorino issues an order that says ‘we won’t ask about your status’ in one line and ‘we will turn over information to ICE in criminal investigations,’ in the next, it does not provide the assurances necessary to ensure that immigrants feel trust in their county officials.
Without that trust, crimes will go unreported and victims will suffer in silence. We will do all we can to make sure county residents’ needs are fully respected. The act did not pass today, but the community has not ended its fight.” — John Santos, Vice-President 32BJ SEIU Hudson Valley
“Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino and the legislators who voted against the Immigrant Protection Act today sent a clear message to their constituents that they are more than willing to help carry out the Trump Administration’s discriminatory anti-immigrant agenda.
We worked hard with our members and legislators to draft a smart, bi-partisan bill that would protect all residents, and although it did not pass tonight, we will continue to stand up for the values that truly make America great: opportunity and justice for all.” -Charlotte Gossett Navarro, New York Immigration Coalition Senior Manager of Member Engagement in the Hudson Valley
“We remain resilient and persistent in light of the news regarding the Immigrant Protection Act. Neighbors Link is committed to ensuring that immigrants and their families with deep roots in our communities should not live in fear of deportation.
We must continue our work to pass legislation that ends the practice of information sharing between the county department of corrections and federal civil immigration authorities when there is no ongoing criminal investigation.
We must protect all residents by striking a balance between county compliance with federal law and creating guidelines for such compliance. This Act was designed to protect us all, to ensure public safety and protect the rights of all those who call Westchester County home.
We are committed to our unyielding conviction to celebrate and cultivate integration, diversity and inclusion — and passing strong legislation is a key step toward that vision. We must all continue this work.” -Carola Otero Bracco, Executive Director, Neighbors Link
“We should be concerned when government overreaches and erodes our constitutionally enshrined protections that ensure due process for all. The County Executive Order denies immigrants in custody all constitutional protections under the New York State and United States Constitutions. Under Astorino’s Executive Order, individuals do not have the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. The name of any foreign born individual is reported to Immigration and Customs Enforcement creating false equivalencies between civil and criminal justice systems. The Immigrant Protection Act strikes the right balance to accommodate the legitimate needs of law enforcement as balanced against the right of the individual. Tonight’s disappointing vote and The Executive Order as decreed by Mr. Astorino represents an overreach of power by the county and creates dangerous precedents for all the residents of Westchester.” — Grace Heyman, Executive Director, Westchester Hispanic Coalition
“We are disappointed that the Legislators could not find the unity to put political and electoral considerations aside and reverse the veto in this important Protection Law. There is no time to wait or deny the importance of protecting our undocumented immigrant community. Our friends, neighbors and family, like all, are an active, dynamic and constructive part for our cities and towns. ” —Luis Yumbla, Hudson Valley Community Coalition, Acting Executive Director
Groups supporting the Westchester Immigrant Protection Act include 32BJ SEIU, Community Resource Center, Community Voices Heard, Hudson Valley Community Coalition, Hudson Valley Justice Center, Indivisible Westchester, Neighbors Link, New York Immigration Coalition, NYIC Westchester Steering Committee , Unite Here Local 100, Westchester Hispanic Coalition Yonkers Sanctuary Movement