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Levy wants law to check immigrants' status

Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy delivers his 2011

Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy delivers his 2011 State of the County address. (Feb. 15, 2011) Credit: Jessica Rotkiewicz

Resurrecting the emotionally volatile issue of illegal immigration, Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy said he plans to introduce legislation Tuesday to require county contractors to verify the immigration status of all new employees.

The measure, which would apply to all contractors doing business with or licensed by Suffolk, is similar to another that Levy proposed in 2008, that called for contractors doing business with the county public works department to check new employees' status against a federal database.

"I've always said the answer was to go after the employer" of undocumented immigrants, Levy said. "They can never say they got a forged Social Security card if they're required to cross reference that with a federal database."

He'd like to go further, Levy said, but federal law prevents him from requiring employers to crosscheck the immigration status of all employees.

Levy said he may not be able to meet a legislative deadline in time to introduce his measure Tuesday. In that case, he said he would introduce it at the next legislative meeting two weeks from Tuesday.

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