ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – Republican New York Congressman Nick Langworthy visited Elmira Tuesday to call for action on securing the border amid New York City’s migrant crisis.

“We’re a nation of immigrants. Every one of us is a product of immigrants, but they did it legally,” said Langworthy. “Every person that comes to this country illegally, disrespects those that came here through a legal fashion, that waited, that went through the process. So, I fully support a process of legal immigration, and putting the people that entered that process legally first. What we have now is chaos, and chaos serves no one well.”

Congressman Langworthy was joined by several state and city leaders, including Elmira Mayor Dan Mandell, State Senator Tom O’Mara, Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, and Assemblyman Chris Friend.

Mr. Langworthy called on Governor Kathy Hochul to sign an Executive Order that removes New York City’s status as a Sanctuary City. Congressman Langworthy says Sanctuary Cities are openly defying federal law by welcoming illegal immigrants. New York City says it is out of room to house an overwhelming number of migrants. Congressman Langworthy traced the root of the crisis to a decision made by former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo six years ago.

“In 2017, Governor Cuomo signed an Executive Order prohibiting New York State agencies and officers from inquiring about or disclosing an individual’s immigration status,” said Congressman Langworthy.  “That was all about scoring points against President Trump, who was fighting to put a wall on our southern border. This wasn’t about smart public policy. This didn’t consult local law enforcement. It didn’t consult district attorneys. It didn’t take into consideration what crime would result in local communities. It handcuffs our law enforcement officers from being able to do their job and makes our state a magnet for illegal immigration. Now, Governor Hochul, she could start to undo this today. It would be very simple for her to start to take lead on this whole mess. She could use her executive authority to get this crisis control with one swipe of the pen by undoing that Executive Order with a subsequent Executive Order.”

“New York City decided to declare themselves a sanctuary city,” said Langworthy. “They wanted to do this to score political points and said that they would enforce federal laws and that this would make New York City a haven. Well, our residents are struggling with New York’s highest in the nation tax burdens and we can’t take it anymore. We can’t afford this anymore.”

“It’s become rather fashionable for those in the media to use the term asylum seeker because it sounds, it’s much more sanitized,” said Langworthy. “These are people that broke the laws of the United States by just coming across our border. They’re getting rubber stamped paperwork to keep them here. Economic opportunity is not an asylum opportunity. Asylum is, you know, like we’re doing for the people that come here from the Ukraine. It’s obviously a very war-torn country. Their lives are in danger every single day. There are other countries that fit this a mold. But someone that just wants to come here to make more money, that doesn’t entitle someone to asylum.”

Mr. Langworthy is also calling on the U.S. Senate to pass the “Secure the Border Act” which passed in the House in May.

“It would finish our wall it would give our customs agents and our border patrol the tools that they need to do their job and it would clean up the asylum process in the United States of America,” said Langworthy.

State Senator Tom O’Mara said some New York Counties who accepted migrants from New York City are seeing impacts on crime and health.

“We’re at a tipping point right now in New York State given the crisis in New York City,” said State Senator O’Mara. “We have seen upstate counties of Erie, Monroe and Albany willingly accept migrants from New York City, with understandings from New York City government, that support for those migrants will be there. New York City’s already reneging on those promises and the relief is not coming to help these communities. Now we’re seeing upstate counties that welcomed them saying no more, stop. Now we’re seeing the crime concerns in Buffalo, with just 500 of them there. We’re seeing disease issues coming forward.”

Mr. Langworthy says he also stands by 31 New York Counties that were sued by New York City after declaring states of emergencies. The orders banned hotels and business from housing migrants without prior approval and imposed fines for doing so. The lawsuit accused the counties of “walling off their own borders” during a humanitarian crisis. It also accused counties of declaring emergencies when an emergency impacting public safety was not in progress.

“My response to that is, I think there were a lot of communities that declared states of emergency about Covid before they had a single positive case. So you see some things coming and you declare an emergency,” said Langworthy.

“They can call this humanitarian or whatever, I mean, some of these people have been put up in situations at the outset of this crisis, I mean they had tents and housing in some of the parks in New York City that rival anything anyone that makes a good buck can afford. When you’re putting in video game systems for people, I think that’s not really in the spirit of a humanitarian crisis. You can be compassionate, and be opposed to this situation,” said Langworthy.

“The first word is illegal, and that’s who is coming to our communities, illegal immigrants,” said Elmira Mayor Dan Mandell. “There’s a legal way of doing this and that’s not happening right now. Our priority in the City of Elmira are our citizens. We have enough problems we have to deal with. We can’t be taking on other problems from the illegal immigrants and the problems that they are causing. We have a fentanyl crisis in this city and we are seeing people die way too much by overdosing on fentanyl. It’s a major problem with this illegal immigration.”

You can watch the full news conference below: