WC executive order blocks ‘sanctuary county’ status

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WHITE PLAINS -

The county executive says a new executive order prevents Westchester from becoming a "sanctuary county" but still protects immigrants who have not committed crimes.

"Why are we going to protect criminals who are in our jail?" Rob Astorino asked after announcing the move. 

Immigrants with clean records will not be bothered, he said.

"No matter what your status, you're not going to be questioned or arrested," he said. "No raids by county police on construction sites, that's not what we do."

But Legislator MaryJane Shimsky criticized some of the wording in the executive order. It says law enforcement officers will "continue to operate with federal authorities in investigating and apprehending aliens involved in criminal activity."

"Let's say police officers go into the park, and they see people playing cards," Shimsky said. "They can say, 'Well I was sure it was evidence of gambling, so therefore I asked them all for their immigration status.'"

The Board of Legislators passed a bill earlier this year that would have protected immigrants, only for Astorino to veto it last month. Dozens of activists in Yonkers rallied in protest. The board will vote in a bid to override the veto next week.

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