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Residents rally to make Schenectady a sanctuary city

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Residents rally to make Schenectady a sanctuary city

Residents demonstrate support for making Schenectady a sanctuary city prior to Monday night's City Council meeting.
Residents demonstrate support for making Schenectady a sanctuary city prior to Monday night's City Council meeting.

About 40 people gathered outside Schenectady City Hall before Monday night’s City Council meeting in the latest show of support for making Schenectady a sanctuary for undocumented citizens.

For the last couple months, a small but vocal group of residents have been urging city leaders to declare Schenectady a sanctuary city, and provide protection for undocumented immigrants. Many of those people could be spotted waving signs and speaking outside City Hall during a rally around 6 p.m. Monday.

Four city council members introduced a resolution last week calling for federal immigration reform. The measure will be part of a broader discussion on immigration during next week's committee meeting. The majority of the council still does not appear to support declaring Schenectady a sanctuary city.

The title “sanctuary city” has no set definition, but generally means local police would not enforce federal immigration laws or detain undocumented immigrants, leaving Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to do the job themselves.

“We’re going to talk about all of the possibilities that people would like to bring to the table,” Council President Leesa Perazzo said last Monday.

Mayor Gary McCarthy has said previously that the city’s police officers to not go out enforcing ICE detainers, and calling Schenectady a sanctuary city would not change the way it operates.