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New York May Become Sanctuary State For Undocumented Immigrants

New York may become a sanctuary state for undocumented immigrants.
New York may become a sanctuary state for undocumented immigrants. Photo Credit: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

A lawmaker is pushing legislation that would see the Empire State become a sanctuary for illegal immigrants.

Democratic State Sen. Jose Serrano Jr. is sponsoring a bill that would prohibit law enforcement from holding non-citizens for deportation by federal officials unless they’ve been convicted of a violent crime in the past several years.

The bill - titled the "Dignity for Immigrants in New York State Act” - has been introduced in the past, but never made it through the legislature. It is now being considered in committee.

Several cities throughout New York have already declared themselves as sanctuary cities, including some in the Hudson Valley, but if approved, Serrano’s bill, which was introduced late last week, would extend those protections statewide.

Currently, ICE has been holding some individuals after they are eligible to be released due to their immigration status, not with reasonable cause.

The bill states that “this act will ensure concerns about public safety, which is the primary concern of local law enforcement, is prioritized above concerns of immigration status, which is a uniquely federal responsibility,”

The new bill came on the heels of President Donald Trump threatening to ship undocumented immigrants being held at the Mexican border to sanctuary cities, including several in New York. Several other states, including Connecticut, have declared themselves sanctuary states supporting restricted immigration.

On Twitter, the commander-in-chief posted, “due to the fact that Democrats are unwilling to change our very dangerous immigration laws, we are indeed, as reported, giving strong considerations to placing Illegal Immigrants in Sanctuary Cities only.”

In a statement, Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb took the state’s Democrats to task for their support of Serrano’s bill.

“New York Democrats won’t be happy until they abandon every basic rule or law that governs our nation and protects our citizens,” he stated. “The sanctuary state proposal is just the latest example of political posturing that should be kept far away from public policy. The liberal mindset is so skewed, that even though New York’s residents and businesses are leaving in droves, they prefer to focus on people who are in America illegally.”

Serrano told the New York Post that “we expect to have a good, robust discussion on the bill.”

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