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NYS issues guidance on avoiding federal immigration enforcement

National Public Radio

New York Attorney General on Thursday issued guidance to local governments on how they can put laws and policies in place to limit their participation in federal immigration enforcement activities under Republican President-elect Donald Trump's administration.

This limitation of participation with federal immigration enforcement is what is called a "sanctuary" community.

The guidance from Democratic Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says local law enforcement agencies can take several steps. Those steps include refusing to enforce non-judicial civil immigration warrants, denying requests from federal officials to hold onto people in custody who haven't been charged for more than 48 hours, limiting immigration enforcement agents' access to people already in custody and limiting the gathering and reporting of information like someone's immigration status. 

Schneiderman said public safety depends on trust between law enforcement and communities. 

"No local law enforcement agency should have to undercut that trust just to carry out Donald Trump's draconian immigration policies,'' he said. 

Trump has condemned sanctuary communities across the county. He made clamping down on immigration a centerpiece of his presidential campaign, including building a wall on the country's border with Mexico, deporting more of those people in the United States without legal authorization and prohibiting entry to immigrants from certain nations. 

In November, New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio declared his city will remain a sanctuary city. However, there is no official such community in Western New York.

In December, Erie County took up the issue of becoming a sanctuary community, if only briefly. Measures for and against were introduced, but did not make it through committee. Hundreds of students at the University at Buffalo also have signed a petition making it a sanctuary campus, but UB President Dr. Satish Tripathi does not have the authority to declare the university a sanctuary campus.

The Department of Homeland Security did not immediately comment on Schneiderman's guidance.

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