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Business Leaders, Unions and Advocates to Rally Against Suffolk Anti-Immigrant Proposal

Today, business leaders, union members and community and immigrants' rights advocates will hold a rally and press conference rejecting a proposal by Suffolk County lawmakers that would require all 15,000 licensed contractors in the county to prove their employees’ working status. The rally comes immediately before the Suffolk County Legislator’s Consumer Affairs Committee votes on the bill.

Today, business leaders, union members and community and immigrants’ rights advocates will hold a rally and press conference rejecting a proposal by Suffolk County lawmakers that would require all 15,000 licensed contractors in the county to prove their employees’ working status. The rally comes immediately before the Suffolk County Legislator’s Consumer Affairs Committee votes on the bill.

The proposal, introduced in January by Brian Beedenbender, carries penalties with it that include the loss of county licenses and up to four years in jail. The bill’s wide array of opponents denounce it as political posturing that promotes discrimination, and have come to call it the “Electrician and Plumber Unemployment Act” because of the harmful impact it would have on an already depressed economy.

“This legislation is an invitation for employers to discriminate against people entitled to work but who speak Spanish or otherwise appear ‘foreign,’” said Seth Muraskin, director of the Suffolk County chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union. “This political pandering will only make it difficult for honest, hardworking people to work and feed their families. Our Suffolk County officials must respect our core American values and reject government-sponsored xenophobia once and for all.”

The measure, if successful, would be the first of its kind in the state and follows a highly controversial 2006 law that requires contractors doing business with the county to confirm the legal status of their employees.

WHAT:
Rally and press conference against Suffolk County is anti-immigrant ordinance

WHO:
Representatives of the Long Island Immigrant Alliance, SEIU 1199, CWF, La Fuente, NYCLU, Workplace Project and SCACLU, among others

WHERE:
William H. Rogers, Legislature Building, 725 Veterans Memorial Highway, Smithtown

WHEN:
Thursday, March 13, noon. The Consumer Affairs Committee will meet at 1 p.m.

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