Westchester County DA announces creation of Office of Immigration Affairs
Westchester District Attorney Anthony Scarpino announced the creation of the Office of Immigrant Affairs Saturday to help residents report crimes, regardless of their immigration status.
The announcement comes days after the Westchester County Board of Legislators approved the Immigration Protection Act, a bill that would limit the county’s exchange of information with federal immigration authorities.
A White Plains man, who did not want to be identified, says undocumented immigrants who are abused by employers or become victims of violent crimes often avoid calling police because they fear deportation. He says he now has more confidence to report a crime after learning about the new bureau.
"It's the first step in order to protect our community, but we need to see if this is really going to work," says Luis Yumbla, of the Hudson Valley Community Coalition. "In some way, they are passing information to immigration."
Scarpino says with the new bureau, Westchester is now a member of the District Attorney League of Immigrant Affairs, which is committed to protecting all residents regardless of their immigration status.
Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino vowed to veto the legislation of the Immigration Protection Act.
"The act will put out on the street that Westchester is a safe haven for undocumented immigrants who are involved in criminal activity," Astorino says.