New York State Democrats responded to President Trump's threat to withhold federal funding from cities that harbor illegal immigrants by passing a bill through the assembly that would declare the state a "sanctuary state".

The bill directs local law enforcement not to cooperate with federal authorities, except in cases of violent felonies, terrorism, or previous deportations, Eric Shawn reported.

Speaking on the Senate floor in Albany, Assemb. Francisco Moya (D-Queens) said the bill will reduce crime because it encourages illegal immigrants to report wrongdoing to the police.

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Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) said the bill "takes a stand" in support of illegal immigrants, calling its passage "a moral obligation."

The bill faces opposition in the Republican-controlled state senate, where Sen. Terrence Murphy (R-Mohegan Lake) said every New Yorker should have the opportunity to succeed "so long as they are here legally."

Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) who would likely sign the bill if it passes the senate, said earlier this year that if anyone wants to deport New York immigrants, they should "start with me".

Cuomo recounted how his father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo (D-N.Y.), was the son of impoverished Italian immigrants to Queens, N.Y.

Trump has threatened to withhold funds from states or cities that defy federal law on the matter.

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