To the Editor: Enforce Immigrant Protections in Westchester

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Diego Puma, Courtesy Facebook

 

You may have heard about the Ossining High School Senior who was arrested and detained by ICE on the day of his senior prom.

The teenager, who worked two jobs, was taken into custody, as was his mother, and the two were sent to different facilities. This is the story in the Washington Post.

To the Editor:

When President Trump promised the nation that only undocumented violent offenders would face deportation, none of us imagined that a high school student right here in Ossining would be snatched up on what should have been one of the happiest days of his life—his high school prom. Yet that is what happened to Diego Puma last week. 

Although we have little control over immigration judge’s orders, we can make sure that our taxpayer-funded resources are not being used to persecute immigrants. The Immigrant Protection Act was introduced in the County Legislature in February and follows the model laid out by Attorney General Schneiderman to protect immigrant communities. It allows local law enforcement to limit their participation in federal immigration enforcement activities in several ways: by refusing to enforce nonjudicial civil immigration warrants; by denying federal requests to hold uncharged individuals in custody more than 48 hours; and by limiting information-gathering that will be used exclusively for federal immigration enforcement. 

Unfortunately, there has been no action on the Immigrant Protection Act in the County Legislature. It was referred to three committees: the Committee on Public Safety, the Committee on Legislation, and the Committee on Budget and Appropriations. Not one of these has voted on the Act in the four months since, and without their vote, it cannot be advanced to the legislature for a floor vote. 

Reports of crimes from immigrant communities have fallen sharply due to fears of deportation. When our immigrant neighbors are safe, we are all safer. Please take a moment to contact these committees and urge them to bring the Immigrant Protection Act to a vote. 

Svetlana Wasserman

Larchmont, NY

 

5 thoughts on “To the Editor: Enforce Immigrant Protections in Westchester

  1. What an odd statement the last paragraph is. If crime is down…isn’t that a good thing? Clearly the writer thinks not.

    • What she means is that immigrants are not reporting crimes against them, for fear that any contact with police may result in their deportation. Thus, crimes go uninvestigated and criminals go unpunished.

  2. In response to the two previous writers, “taxpayer -funded resources” are not being used to persecute immigrants at the County or local level nor is there a fear of that. “Protecting our immigrant community”….?? How about protecting our community from immigrant law-breakers. Since the “Laborers” lawsuit here in the Village of Mamaroneck a dozen years ago the VoMPD seems to have turned a blind eye to local infractions by undocumented residents. Our car was hit by an immigrant mother in a minivan at MAS who could provide no license or insurance. The officer let her go with no citation! Somehow being undocumented conveys “holy” status. Now, before you start labeling me as racist or xenophobic….I am the son of immigrants married to an hispanic immigrant….(who agrees 100%). While I am sympathetic to the plight of any immigrant, the reality is that over-protecting the undocumented population has only resulted in increased school taxes and a disregard for law and order. BTW, Diego and his mother have been reunited at the same facility.

  3. I could not agree more. The inaction on this bill by the County Board of Legislators needs to change. We should all reach out to our legislators to show them how much we care about protecting immigrants in our community. County Executive Rob Astorino is saying he can’t comment on it because he hasn’t seen it — let’s get it on his desk soon so he has to take a stand.

    • Why on earth would you want our county government getting involved? That’s the last thing we need. County government needs to get smaller not larger. I feel for these people but they are here illegally and as such are breaking the law so I don’t have too much sympathy for them.

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