September 27, 2006
Levy Immigration Initiative Passes
They didn't like it. They thought it was "horrible" and fraught with legal and enforcement problems. But they voted for it anyway.
With many of the lawmakers offering what was called "hollow support" the majority of the Suffolk County Legislature last week voted to adopt County Executive Steve Levy's latest immigration initiative.
The bill replicates federal statutes regarding companies that have contracts with the county. Under the new law, contractors are required to verify their workers are eligible to work in the United States.
While many lawmakers offered impassioned speeches expressing concerns about a variety of aspects of the bill — how it could foment racism and discrimination, how it's duplicative and could prompt legal action, and how there have been few answers relating to how enforcement would be implemented — only three voted against the measure.
Democrats Vivian Viloria-Fisher of East Setauket, Elie Mystal of Amityville and Ricardo Montano of Central Islip cast no votes, offering scathing criticism of the bill. Viloria-Fisher acknowledged that her vote could mean "political suicide." But she never took the job to vote contrary to her conscience, she said.