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Astorino Vetoes Immigrant Protection Act

Rob Astorino vetoes the Immigrant Protection Act.
Rob Astorino vetoes the Immigrant Protection Act. Photo Credit: Contributed

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino formally vetoed the Immigrant Protection Act Wednesday.

In his veto, Astorino said the act, approved last week by the Board of Legislators 10-5, "endangers public safety, violates federal law, infringes upon long-established principles of law enforcement cooperation and jeopardizes millions in federal public safety grants.”

Twelve legislators must vote in favor of the legislation to override Astorino's veto. 

The bill was also criticized by County Department of Public Safety Commissioner George Longworth and Sgt. Hector Lopez, president of the Westchester Law Enforcement Association.

The county also feared it could lose $13 million in federal public safety grants and reimbursements if declared a "sanctuary county" by the Justice Department. Astorino said that he is working on an executive order that will assuage the anxiety of many in the undocumented immigrant community that they cannot report crimes or seek medical assistance for fear that they will be deported.

Chairman Michael Kaplowitz said the veto was "ill-advised, wrong and insensitive". 

"It endangers public safety by discouraging certain individuals from reporting gang behavior and other criminality to law enforcement," Kaplowitz said. “The county executive's decision to hold a press conference celebrating his veto displays a serious tone-deafness delivered in the shadow of President Trump’s inexplicable, anti-American and shocking embrace of neo-Nazi’s and white supremacists.”

Carola Bracco, the executive director of Neighbors Link said she was disappointed by Astorino's veto.

"This legislation is necessary to assist local law enforcement and protect public safety," Bracco said. "It also prohibits the county from redirecting its limited resources to federal immigration priorities. With this legislation, our county is moving in the right direction. The county executive has sacrificed progress in the name of partisan politics."

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