There are many people who say that Steve Levy, our sitting County Executive, has encouraged a culture in the county that inhibits the ordinary human rights of immigrants here. He denies it. But two years ago, his County Police, which had reported that in the prior year there had been almost no violence against immigrants in the county, suddenly became involved in a scandal when a high school student in the Patchogue area went out at night with friends to “get” an immigrant. Later, the high school student said they had been doing this with considerable frequency without interference from the police. Indeed, that night, he “got” a man he had never met, an immigrant from Ecuador that was walking down the street, and in front of his mates, stabbed the immigrant to death for no reason whatsoever. This was a huge shock to this community.
Since that time, Levy has behaved in a more balanced way toward immigrants. However, about a month ago, it was revealed that he might have given out a county contract to a businessman in exchange for campaign contributions for his re-election. Though no charges were made against him, District Attorney Thomas Spota declared there were “serious issues with regard to fundraising and the manner in which it was conducted.” Levy then declared he would not stand for re-election, and he then agreed to turn over to the DA $4 million in campaign contributions to be distributed back to those who had made them to him. He did this, some say, so the DA would not proceed against him. Indeed, the DA did drop his investigation.
Now, last Tuesday, Steve Levy put three new bills on the agenda that he wants to have become law. These are bills aimed at illegal immigrants or others without papers. These bills, if passed will have serious negative ramifications for us all, mostly because they violate our constitution and make a mockery out of what this country stands for.
The first bill is a proposal to require anybody in the county who wants to go into a store and buy a pre-paid cellphone to have with them two forms of government identification at the time of purchase. People without ID will be denied pre-paid cellphone purchases. Further, the name of the buyer and the IDs will be turned over to the County Police for entry in the Police National Database.
Rationale: Here’s how we trap terrorists and sex offenders.
Who it’s really against: The poor and the immigrants.
How it affects you: If you want to buy a pre-paid cellphone for your teenager, you will have your info registered with the police. And if you don’t have ID you won’t get a pre-paid cellphone.
Here are the other two bills, having to do with trade workers.
Any person or company who has a license to do work in the county—electricians, plumbers, contractors etc.—cannot renew their annual licenses to work in the county unless they register all the names and social security numbers of their employees with the Social Security Federal Database (used by the FBI). Fines for employing people without social security numbers will be $2,000 per occurrence.
Any person or company who gets contracts to do work for the county where the county is paying 100% of the cost must do the same. Fines for violators again will be $2,000 per occurrence.
Rationale: More ways to catch terrorists.
Who it’s really against: People without proper paperwork who want to work.
How it will affect you: There will likely not be enough blue-collar workers in the county to do the available home repair work. You will find delays and high prices to get anything done. There will be real problems getting people to do all the scut work—dishwashing in restaurants, garbage sorting at the recycling centers, etc., And our taxes will go up. There will have to be a new army of bureaucrats to enter and deal with all the data this creates.
For many years, the Feds looked the other way and let all these illegal immigrants looking for work over the border. They are here. There are those who favor allowing civil rights to immigrants since we let them in—we are a country of immigrants and we care—and there are those who want to send them back to where they came from ASAP. We’ve been wrestling with this for a long time, hoping to find solutions to satisfy both camps. So far there has been no compromise.
In the middle of this, Steve Levy just showed his true colors.
I have an idea for another law for Steve Levy to put forward. How about this? Make it illegal for anyone to send money at the Western Union counters in the supermarkets unless they have two IDs (which info goes to the FBI). This will put a stop to immigrant workers sending money to their families back home in the old country. It might also mean you have a problem sending money to your son in college.
I don’t believe our founding fathers built this country on this sort of thinking.