WHITE PLAINS, Westchester County - The Westchester County Board of Legislators voted 10-5 on Monday to approve the Immigrant Protect Act. Westchester is the first county in the state to pass such a law, which still faces a veto from the county executive, Rob Astorino.
Legislators say the bipartisan bill would protect the confidential information of all residents, regardless of immigration status, and ensure that limited county resources are not misappropriated for federal immigration enforcement.
The bill makes it clear that county police officers and county correction officers can assist immigration agents, but they cannot do the work of immigration agents.
Supporters say it is a fine line, but an important distinction.
Immigrants rights advocates rallied in White Plains in support of the measure ahead of the vote.
Supporters insist it is not a sanctuary bill and is not drafted that way.
They explained the bill's impact and its chances of success.
"Some of their work right now is communication with ICE," said Jessica Young of the Westchester Hispanic Coalition. "So the purpose of this act is to focus on the crimes that are committed in Westchester County and focus on that as opposed to doing the job of ICE."
County Executive Rob Astorino has vowed to veto the legislation.
"It all adds up to a very dangerous idea, it is politics at its worst, and for those reasons I will veto this legislation," Astorino said.
12 votes would be needed to override a veto.