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July 2017 Column - Allow Law Enforcement to do Their Job, Officials Should Oppose Erie County Becoming a Sanctuary County


OFFICE HIGHLIGHTS

We’ve all read the stories in the paper of the countless individuals suffering from the ongoing opioid epidemic. There has been a lot of talk of families being ripped apart by this tragedy, too often we hear talk but see little action.

Legislator Ted Morton joined Senator Patrick M. Gallivan, Erie County Sheriff Timothy Howard, Holland Central School Superintendent Cathy Fabiatos and Alden School Superintendent Adam Stoltman to announce continued funding for school resource officers (SRO) in several local districts. The SRO program provides a uniformed officer in schools as a way to promote student safety, conflict resolution and anti-bullying initiatives.


At a Legislative session held on September 21, 2017, Legislator Ted Morton honored Lancaster resident, Dick Young as the September 2017 Citizen of the month.


Today, in response to the County Executive’s offer to work with Legislator Morton to develop a compromise Made in America Act, Legislator Ted Morton wrote to him to begin the process.


Legislator Ted Morton first introduced the Made in America Act in support of local manufacturers and local workers in Erie County. After passing the Legislature by a vote of 9-1, the County Executive vetoed the law after instructing the County Attorney to draft a legal opinion.


You may have seen in the national news reports about efforts across the country to make local communities sanctuary communities. Generally speaking, sanctuary policies are policies that restrict or limit local law enforcement from alerting Federal immigration officials about people who may be in the country illegally. Sanctuary communities, whether counties or cities, tend not to enforce immigration law.

 

Our community is located in close proximity to an international border, which is one of the reasons I cannot support Erie County becoming a sanctuary county. These policies prevent our law enforcement from ensuring legal immigration into our county. Many nearby cities, including Ithaca and Syracuse, have enacted sanctuary policies towards undocumented immigrants, preventing our law enforcement officials from doing their jobs.

 

During a traffic stop last week, Lancaster Police identified two individuals as illegal immigrants. The officers then contacted border patrol who took the individuals into custody. The issue of illegal immigration is very real in Western New York and should be taken seriously.

 

Recently, nearby Ulster County voted strongly against enacting sanctuary policies. I’ve introduced a similar resolution to prevent Erie County from become a sanctuary community. I strongly support legal immigration, but sanctuary policies would promote illegal immigration into our area that has the potential to put public safety at risk. My resolution continues to allow local police to do their jobs and work with federal immigration officials to ensure our immigration laws are being followed. This resolution does not mean law enforcement will be knocking on doors checking individual immigration status, but if police do arrest someone and in the course of their investigation they determine that they are not supposed to be here, it enables law enforcement to ensure Federal officials are contacted.

 

I’m a strong supporter of legal immigration. The vast majority of immigrants, including my ancestors, came here that way. They are what helped make our country the greatest nation in the history of the world.

 

On another note, I recently joined Sheriff Howard, County Executive Poloncarz, Legislator Lorigo and Health Commissioner Burstein at a press conference highlighting the county’s prescription drug and syringe collection program. As a way to combat the ongoing opioid epidemic, drop off locations throughout the county provide a way to safely dispose of old prescription medication. If you would like more information on where you can drop off unneeded drugs, please call my office.

 

A special thank you to all of our local law enforcement and first responders who did an incredible job protecting our community at all the parades and events throughout the July 4th holiday. It was great to see the strong support they provide our community. As always should you have any questions on this or any other issue, please give me a call at 858-8856 or send an email to ted.morton@erie.gov