Friday, August 11, 2017


When even the Legal Aid Society opposes a bill that ties cops’ hands, you can be pretty sure it’s fatally flawed. Alas, the concerns of Westchester’s LAS — and a raft of law-enforcement and other groups — didn’t stop the county Board of Legislators from passing the Immigration Protection Act by a 10-5 vote this week.  READ more at


  1. The Westchester Hispanic Law Enforcement Association and members of the County's law enforcement community were opposed.

  2. Astorino, Law Enforcement: Sanctuary County Law Handcuffs Police, Harms Residents

    County Executive Robert P. AstorinoAug. 7, 2017 - Joined by Westchester County’s largest Hispanic law enforcement organization, members of the county’s Departments of Public Safety and Correction, and union leaders from the Department of Correction, County Executive Robert P. Astorino today promised to veto legislation that would make Westchester a sanctuary county because it would jeopardize public safety, particularly those in our immigrant communities, would cost taxpayers millions of dollars and would be nearly impossible to enforce.

    The Immigration Protection Act was approved 10-5 by the Board of Legislators earlier today. The county executive now has 10 days to veto the Act.

    “Westchester is a diverse county with vibrant immigrant communities that are welcomed and valued,” Astorino said. “I’m opposed to this Act because it puts public safety at risk, especially those in our immigrant communities; puts Westchester at odds with our own federal government; creates rights not available to ordinary citizens, will jeopardize approximately $13 million in federal funds and is so confusing as to be unenforceable. It all adds up to be a dangerous idea, and for those reasons I will veto this legislation.”

    In addressing issues with the Act, Astorino noted that enforcing immigration laws and deportations are the responsibility of the federal government, not county police, and that this Act severely restricts how local communities and law enforcement communicate with federal agencies, such as the FBI and Department of Homeland Security.

    The county executive also said that his Administration had long worked with legislators and immigration groups to come up with workable legislation. But after much testimony from advocates, public safety, corrections and social services, the grave flaws in the Act were apparent and unworkable. In this case, political grandstanding was put before public safety, Astorino said.

    “Just because proponents of the bill say it doesn’t create a sanctuary county, doesn’t make it so,” Astorino said. “Our County Attorney has given us an opinion that passage of this act makes Westchester a sanctuary county and at odds with the federal government.”

    In his legal opinion, County Attorney Robert Meehan raised concerns that the law established “sanctuary policies,” jeopardizes millions of dollars in federal funds, and raises substantial questions as to whether it violates federal law.

    “There are several provisions of the IPA which specifically limit the discretion of and prohibit county law enforcement agencies and officers from cooperating with federal law enforcement authorities,” Meehan wrote. “As such, the legislation, based upon a review of recent statements by the Attorney General of the United States and the Department of Justice, establishes ‘sanctuary policies’ which jeopardize receipt by the county of federal law enforcement grants.”

    Hector Lopez, president of the Westchester Hispanic Law Enforcement Association, the county’s largest law enforcement group representing Hispanic officers, said that while his members respect and understand the vital role that immigrants play in this county, passage of the law endangers law-abiding residents while providing a safe haven for undocumented immigrants who have broken the law.