Astorino Vetoes Westchester Legislature’s Immigration Protection Act
— by Barrett Seaman
As expected, County Executive Rob Astorino vetoed the Immigration Protection Act that passed the County’s Board of Legislators by a 10-5 vote on August 7th.
Though the bill, based on similar measures passed by governments in Irvington and other Westchester villages earlier this year, was written to avoid categorizing the county as a “sanctuary,” County Attorney Robert Meehan determined that it would make Westchester a “Sanctuary County,” as defined by the U.S. Department of Justice and thus put in jeopardy nearly $13 million in federal aid.
Astorino said the act “endangers public safety, violates federal law, infringes upon long-established principles of law enforcement cooperation and jeopardizes millions in federal safety grants.” He said he is working on an Executive Order he says will assuage the fears of many undocumented workers that they will be deported if they cooperate with police or seek medical attention.
Twelve votes are needed to override the County Executive’s veto. One Democratic legislator was absent and can be assumed to bring the majority vote to 11, but knowledgeable observers of county politics say it is highly unlikely Democrats will be able to turn the additional vote needed to achieve that. A vote to override will not happen until September 25th.