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Assembly Democrats seek to thwart Trump immigration actions

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) answers questions during

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) answers questions during a news conference at the Capitol in Albany on Jan. 17, 2017. The state Assembly proposed legislation on Feb. 6, 2017, that would, in effect, make New York a sanctuary state. Credit: AP / Hans Pennink

ALBANY — The state’s Democratic-led Assembly is proposing legislation that would, in effect, make New York a sanctuary state, where the federal government would be restricted in trying to root out immigrants who are in the country without proper documentation.

Many of the Assembly’s measures follow the general intent of sanctuary cities. They have cropped up nationwide in opposition to restrictions on immigration sought by Republican President Donald Trump to ward off terrorists.

Trump threatens to cut federal funding for cities and states that take measures to hinder his immigration effort.

The package of proposals would prohibit the “unnecessary” questioning of people about their immigration status; prohibit state and local police from stopping, questioning or arresting people based on their perceived immigration status; prohibit law enforcement agencies from asking about the immigration status of people who seek assistance as victims of crimes such as human trafficking and domestic violence; and prohibit state and local agencies from spending any public money to help federal officials create or maintain a database or registry of people based on race, color, religion or national or ethnic origin.

“For decades, New York’s harbor welcomed millions of immigrants that helped shape our nation into the strong, diverse country it is today,” Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) said Monday. “The Assembly majority believes that the continued success of our state depends on ensuring that immigrants have access to the resources they need to make meaningful contributions to their communities without the fear of inappropriate deportation and other serious consequences.”

Upstate Republican Assemb. Steven McLaughlin called it a “horrendously bad bill” that would endanger New Yorkers.

There was no immediate comment from the Senate’s Republican majority, which would have to approve the bills, or from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who would have to sign any passed bills into law.

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