WC Legislature passes Immigration Protection Act

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WHITE PLAINS -

The Westchester County Legislature voted 11-3 to pass the Immigration Protection Act in White Plains Monday as dozens of activists rallied in support of it outside.

The bill aims to provide some protections for undocumented immigrants.

"We are not all illegal immigrants," says Virginia Perez, a county legislator who supported the bill. "We are not all law breakers, and we are not passing a law to protect those who break the law. That's been a lot of the misconception."

Lawmakers previously passed the same bill in August, only to see former County Executive Rob Astorino veto it.

Now the county has a large Democratic majority and a Democratic executive.

There are some critics in the legislature, however. Republicans say the bill is "a warning sign" that the county is going in "a very scary direction."

"It's about protecting the illegal immigrants in the jail, not about protecting the people in the streets and neighborhoods," argues John Testa, the board's Republican minority leader who cast one of the three votes against the bill. "It's about keeping criminals safe."

The bill now goes to County Executive George Latimer's desk. He is expected to sign it into law.

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