As Steve Levy Relaunches Attack Against Immigrants, Concern About More Violence

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Last year, every time I spoke to a reporter about Suffolk’s immigrants I was invariably asked, “Don’t you think Levy has mellowed on this issue since Marcelo Lucero’s killing?”

My answer was that the Suffolk County executive hadn’t mellowed; he was just biding his time.

Now Levy’s at it again, with a new piece of legislation calling for county-contracted employers to check the immigration status of their employees.

This bill could grab him headlines for months, attract tea party support from out of state, and focus Suffolk’s attention on a non-issue instead of on the poor financial situation of the county. By his own admission, the county executive sees immigration as a winning issue, and he must believe that there are deep veins of resentment toward immigrants to be mined among Suffolk residents.

We’ve seen him support this type of legislation in the past, and, by all indications, we’re about to see it again, regardless of any anti-immigrant backlash it might inspire.

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Patrick Young blogs daily for Long Island Wins. He is the Downstate Advocacy Director of the New York Immigration Coalition and Special Professor of Immigration Law at Hofstra School of Law. He served as the Director of Legal Services and Program at Central American Refugee Center (CARECEN) for three decades before retiring in 2019. Pat is also a student of immigration history and the author of The Immigrants' Civil War.

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