Last week’s resolution by Erie County Legislator Ted Morton calling for a re-affirmation of the county’s non-sanctuary status is drawing fire from one of his fellow legislators.
In a statement released Monday afternoon, 7th District Democrat Patrick Burke said Republican Ted Morton’s resolution “works to ‘fix’ a problem that doesn’t exist” in Erie County and doesn’t need to be considered.
Sanctuary communities are those that offer support to undocumented immigrants or fail to uphold federal immigration law.
Burke said Morton has taken to using fear tactics to push an agenda not based in fact.
“There’s this implied danger,” Burke explained. “Legislator Morton went on several media outlets and talked about immigrants murdering people and committing all sorts of crimes and implied that so-called sanctuary cities had something to do with it – which is just, again, not factual in any way.”
Burke is especially critical of Morton’s resolution for citing publications from the Center for Immigration Studies – an organization which claims to be an independent, non-partisan, non-profit, research organization with a mission of providing reliable information.
“When you look up the Center for Immigration Studies and you see the reports on it, it’s pretty much the front for a white supremacist group,” said Burke. “It’s not appropriate for [Morton] to use those statistics. It’s not appropriate for him to cast immigrants as murderers. And I think it should be rejected, especially in a community like ours.”
While Morton has asserted that there is widespread backing for his resolution amongst the public, Burke said he’s heard nothing from his own constituents and the other legislators aren’t interested either.
“It has no support,” said Burke. “Legislator Morton is in the majority caucus where, when they want to get something passed, it gets passed. And I don’t see this going anywhere.”
Where the resolution goes remains to be seen when it hits the Government Affairs Committee on Thursday. Burke doesn’t think there will be much discussion on the subject, though he said he wouldn’t be afraid to speak if there was.
“I’d be interested to see what type of speakers that Legislator Morton could bring that have some expertise or experience on this issue to have the public discussion,” said Burke. “But I don’t anticipate this happening.”