Steve Levy, candidate for governor, trumpeted his latest incremental conquest -- Cattaraugus County with its eight tenths of a percentage point in the weighted GOP convention vote. While he did so, Assemb. Phil Ramos (D-Central Islip) issued this statement on the county executive's non-commital assessment earlier in the day of the new Arizona crackdown law aimed at undocumented immigrants:
"The immigration law signed by the Governor of Arizona tramples on the fundamental rights of immigrants and all Americans who could now be subjected to racial profiling and unconstitutional searches. For Steve Levy to shy away from condemning this perverse law shows that he is unfit for any office – statewide or local. He should condemn this law and absolutely commit not to pursue a similar policy in New York."
Levy, following up his comments in a news conference, said:
“Too many Democratic leaders in Albany have been promoters of illegal immigration rather than working to make the system less difficult for those who want to come legally. This is a major reason why I felt compelled to leave the Democratic Party.
“My view is that it is too easy to immigrate here illegally, and too difficult to come legally. Too many in the Democratic Party share a different view, and have chosen to aid and abet illegal immigration rather than working to make the process for legal immigration less confusing and restrictive. They are more interested in granting amnesty and getting more voters in their column than developing a thoughtful, long-term solution."
“A letter being circulated by the New York State Black Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus is full of mischaracterizations and flat out lies. They should apologize for spreading this misinformation.”
Update: The letter, signed by nearly three dozen caucus members, all Democrats, states in part: "Mr Levy's incessant supports (sic) of dangerous policies threaten civil liberties, spread fear, and xenophobia... As a County Executive with broad power and a bully pulpit, Mr. Levy has seldom missed an opportunity to agitate festering racial tensions to boost his poll numbers on the backs of people of color."
Also: Some time back, Levy filed a complaint with Assembly ethics committee officials asserting that caucus members including Assemblymembers Ramos and Peter Rivera had effectively threatened to make "persona non grata" those who come to Albany and support Levy for governor, not necessarily in that order. They've responded essentially by saying that the public officers' law won't be used to suppress free speech.