BUFFALO, N.Y. -- People across the country are protesting President Donald Trump's latest efforts to tighten the country's immigration policies, and Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz is among those in opposition.
"I would think that if the Statue of Liberty was alive, yesterday she would have cried a tear because of what the president did," said Poloncarz, D-Erie County.
"Yesterday, President Trump took some actions that I've described and, truthfully, I believe, are un-American. Our history is built on this country, the United States of America, being a refuge for those who are fleeing persecution and tyranny across the world.
"And I've met individuals in our community, Iraqis, Iranians, Syrians, Afghanis, who've fled thousands and thousands of miles from their homes because if they did not, they in all likelihood would be killed."
While Buffalo isn't a so-called "sanctuary city" for refugees, Mayor Byron Brown says it is a welcoming city.
"We are very pleased to continue to work to support the growth and development of the refugee community in the City of Buffalo," said Brown, D-Buffalo.
"We're finally projecting that we will see population gain in the 2020 Census, and one of the reasons for that is because of the presence of immigrants and refugees in our community that have been very good neighbors."
Brown is hopeful President Trump won't stop that from happening.
"Buffalo will communicate with the federal government that we have had a very positive experience with immigrants and refugees," said Trump.
"All you've got to do is look at the west side of Buffalo, and see this tremendous re-emergence of the west side of Buffalo as not just a place for people to live, but a business location," said Poloncarz.
The county executive says he supports proper vetting of refugees and not just letting them in.
"I think the public needs to know just because someone is Muslim, doesn't mean they're a terrorist. Just because someone comes from Syria, doesn't even mean they may be Muslim," said Poloncarz.
"I think it's important for the public to understand that the individuals who are coming to our community just want to live a better life, want to come here and realize what our ancestors did."
Poloncarz says they're going to continue to be protected and offered the services they need to become Americans.
"I want the people of the refugee community of Buffalo, Erie County and Western New York to know I stand with them. I've got their back," said Poloncarz.