Immigrant advocate questions assemblyman's motives

Assemblyman Greg Ball is facing some criticism after he put the spotlight on a makeshift home where illegal immigrants had been living. Seven of the immigrants living in the house in Brewster were recently arrested for trespassing. The arrests come after Ball took News 12 Westchester and other community members to see the conditions the men were living in. Ball said he wanted to alert the public about day laborers living outdoors in horrible conditions. Betsy Palmieri, executive director of a local immigration advocacy group, however, says Ball wasn't really trying to help the men. ?He's trying to exploit a photo opportunity for political gain. We need real leaders, not people who will just grandstand for political gain,? says Palmieri. "Whether it be substandard housing in Westchester or encampments in Putnam County, illegal aliens are being forced into a modern slave economy, one that some would rather ignore,? counters Ball.Ball also says that the laws he has written would help both legal and illegal immigrants, but Palmieri says Ball is no friend to the immigrant community. Following the arrests, the Putnam County Sheriff's Office alerted federal immigration officials. All seven men are being held in the county jail and could be deported.

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