As you may have heard, the Westchester County Board of Legislators passed the Immigrant Protection Act (IPA) this Monday. Over the past few months our county legislators have worked to create an act in accordance with current federal law to ensure that Westchester County is safe and welcoming to all residents, not just constituents. With some exceptions, this act ensures our county employees will not ask for, record, or share immigration status. Proponents of the act, myself included, assert that if the productive members of our immigrant communities fear our county law enforcement, they will not come to us when they are victimized, and the real criminals will get away scott-free.
In short, the IPA is an assertion that Westchester refuses to give in to the xenophobic zeitgeist and pervasive fear that defines the Trump Era.
The act passed 10-5 with bipartisan support, and I commend Republican Legislators Maisano and Gelfarb for crossing the aisle to vote on the side of empathy and rationality. My opponent Sheila Marcotte, however, made no statement during the legislative hearing, only offering up a barely audible “nay” during the vote. Later, she anonymously signed on to this statement. Marcotte and her colleagues’ fear-mongering statements walk the line between kowtowing to and eagerly welcoming the President Trump/Attorney General Sessions nativist vision of America, which shouldn’t be a surprise after what we saw happen after the county’s shameful run-in with HUD.
If you clicked on the first link in this post, you’ll see a video of Legislator Perez’s moving talk about her family’s story. Democratic Candidate for County Executive George Latimer also recently shared stories about his immigrant family on Facebook. In March, I too told my family’s story in a 3-minute speech at the County Board of Legislators in support of immigrants and refugees in our county. These family anecdotes form the core of our Westchester community, and are at the core of the Westchester values that I am running on: fairness, family, and inclusion.
Now for the unfortunate denouement: County Executive Astorino has promised to veto the IPA, and as of right now it looks like there are not enough votes to override it. I urge you to contact the County Executive and urge him not to veto. If it comes to it, I also urge you to contact Legislator Marcotte and the other Republicans and ask them to change their votes. Let’s stand up for our Westchester values!