NEW YORK STATE, USA — "They say, "we have open arms." They're always saying they have open arms. Let's see if they have open arms," said President Donald Trump, commenting on his latest idea to relocate apprehended undocumented immigrants to so-called sanctuary cities -- where authorities do not enforce federal immigration laws.
Buffalo is not one of those cities, but legislation re-introduced in Albany this month aims to change that.
It would ban law enforcement officers from detaining undocumented immigrants here in New York, with some exceptions.
In a statement to 2 on your side, the bill's sponsor New York City Senator Jose Serrano said in part,
"This bill, which does not protect those who have committed violent felonies and certain misdemeanors, is a common-sense response to improving public safety and should be a non-partisan issue on which I hope to build consensus."
The legislation was first introduced in 2013, but it has more support this time now that Democrats control both chambers in Albany.
Local State Senator Pat Gallivan is opposed to the idea.
"People are just simply putting ideas forward as Democrats versus Republicans -- that we have to do something, that state lawmakers have to do something because of President Trump," Gallivan said. "While I don't agree with how the president acts or everything that he does, we're state lawmakers. We should be focusing on state laws and our communities."
Gallivan explained he is concerned that law-abiding taxpayers would be supporting and encouraging those living in New York illegally.
He added, "I'm troubled that a lawmaker is saying to law enforcement officers and agencies we don't want you to enforce all of the laws, only certain laws. That's just not appropriate."
Serrano explained his position. He wrote, "Oftentimes immigrants are fearful and hesitant to come forward when they have been victims or witnesses to crimes. We introduced this legislation in 2013 as a way to help foster better relations between immigrants and local law enforcement and to ensure safer neighborhoods."