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County Board Falls Short of Overriding Astorino Veto

By Rick Pezzullo

Residents tried to persuade legislators to override the veto. —Photo by Anna Young

Residents tried to persuade legislators to override the veto.
—Photo by Anna Young

The Westchester County Board of Legislators fell one vote short of overriding County Executive Rob Astorino’s veto of the controversial Immigration Protection Act.

Legislators voted 11-6 on September 25, squashing the bill that would restrain Westchester from using its resources for immigration enforcement. All nine Democrats supported the effort, along with Republicans Jim Maisano (New Rochelle) and David Gelfarb (Rye).

“While we are not surprised by tonight’s outcome, it truly is disappointing for the people of Westchester County,” members of the Democratic Caucus said in a joint statement. “Studies from all over the country show that our immigrant neighbors are less likely to assist local police departments when they feel that it may result in immigration consequences. Upholding the veto makes none of us safer.”

Following President Donald Trump’s executive order restricting travel by refugees and immigrants from certain countries, Majority Leader Catherine Borgia (D-Ossining) introduced the Immigrant Protection Act in February, a measure that would prevent the county from expending resources to assist in federal investigations based on race, gender, religious, ethnicity or national origin. It was approved 10-5 by the board on August 7 but was later vetoed by Astorino.

Astorino issued an executive order two weeks ago stating that county law enforcement will cooperate with federal authorities in investigations and apprehending illegal immigrants involved in criminal activity. The order also prohibits officers from inquiring about a person’s immigration status unless they are required by law to do so or investigating illegal activity.

Legislator MaryJane Shimsky (D-Hastings-on-Hudson) maintained Astorino’s executive order was a failure that needs to be redrafted.

“As President Trump’s Executive Orders will make America less safe, the County Executive’s Executive Order will do the same for us in Westchester,” members of the Democratic Caucus stated. “This fight is not over.”

One comment

  1. This is a ridiculously biased and poorly written article, the second sentence of which makes no sense at all, relative to the rest of the article.

    Reality check: The vast majority of Americans feel that illegal immigration makes this country less safe, drives down wages, bleeds the welfare system dry, and dangerously slants the demographics in this country in favor of one ethnic group. They also know that it has been responsible for increasingly edging Anglophones out of the workplace. If that were not the case, Trump would not have gotten elected. Having just moved to Westchester to escape the immigration stampede in the five boroughs, I am dismayed that local politics up here appears to be controlled by a small oligarchy of individuals who have simply seized power and taken it upon themselves to disrespect the Federal government’s efforts to impose some order on the chaos engendered during the Obama years. Since my move I have encountered only people who are against illegal immigration, but they all say that expressing these views can jeopardize one’s professional and residential status in the river towns, which leads to the logical conclusion that the Dems’ hold on Westchester needs to be broken. I’m glad to see that at least Astorino has some sense, though I would like to see more aggressive enforcement of immigration law in the area. Westchester Republicans need to get together and stick together.

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