HAUPPAUGE - Immigrant rights advocates protested outside state Sen. Tom Croci's office Wednesday for sponsoring a bill that would cut state funding to any police or government agency that interferes with enforcement of immigration laws.
Demonstrators say that would only lead to more mistrust and equate the police with immigration.
Croci (R – Islip) insists his bill is not aimed at immigrants, but at potential terrorists.
"I'm not concerned with the people who want to live in this country and work. The goal of this legislation is to make sure that those who are here to do us harm can be handled by law enforcement at a local level," says Croci.
Police officials in Nassau and Suffolk tell News 12 that they do check the immigration status of suspects once they have been arrested. But Croci says his law targets other police departments that disregard immigration status altogether.
Immigrant advocates say the proposal would further complicate relations between their communities and police.
"We want local police to only enforce local laws and let immigration enforce immigration laws because it's a complicated and broken system," says Walter Barrientos.