HV assemblyman returns from fact-finding mission at Texas-Mexico borderPosted: Updated:
While New York leads the country in passing laws to protect undocumented immigrants, a Hudson Valley state lawmaker says those laws are contributing to the illegal immigration crisis on the Mexico border.
Rep. Colin Schmitt sat down with News 12 after returning from a weeklong, self-funded "fact-finding mission" to the Texas-Mexico border.
"What we've seen reported, what we've seen discussed, is not really what's happening down there," he said.
The state lawmaker toured the border in the Rio Grande Valley last week with border patrol agents and local law enforcement to see the illegal immigration crisis up close.
"New York, followed by California, are the top locations that those crossing illegally seek to get to," Schmitt said.
He added people on the ground there told him that the laws passed in New York create a pull factor on the border. He claims it can cause a spike in illegal crossings and has already done so.
Schmitt points to the recent passage of the so-called "green light bill" to give undocumented immigrants drivers licenses. He voted against it.
"That was something directly cited by border patrol," he said. "They knew about what's happening in New York because it contributed to a spike in crossings down in Texas. They would say, 'We want to go to New York because of this.'"
Schmitt also visited the border wall, detention facilities and an emergency shelter for immigrants released from ICE custody. He said moving forward, he will bring his newfound perspective to discussions on laws pertaining to rights of undocumented immigrants in New York.