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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

Erie County Legislator Ted Morton (R-Cheektowaga) commented today on the results from last year’s public input focus groups on the Erie County Park System, which showed that 87 percent of those surveyed listed lake quality as a top priority for improvement.


Legislator Ted Morton honored Depew Firefighter Marc Adamberger for saving the lives of five Central Avenue residents, whose building had caught fire the morning of June 29, 2017 while they were still asleep. A proclamation was presented to Adamberger during a presentation held July 19, 2017 at the Fire Hall to recognize his quick thinking and bravery.


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.


Erie County Sheriff Timothy B. Howard was joined by County Executive Mark Poloncarz, Dr. Gale Burstein – Erie County Health Commissioner, Legislature Majority Leader Joseph Lorigo, Legislator Ted Morton, Chair of Energy and Environment committee to discuss the prescription drug drop off program and the disposal of nearly 2-tons of medications.


Erie County Legislator Ted Morton will host Community Outreach Meetings on Monday, July 10 and Tuesday, July 11 to meet with residents to discuss any questions or concerns they may have related to county issues.


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