Troy Mayor Vetoes Sanctuary Resolution
By Colton R. Overcash | July 2019
Less than twenty-four hours after it passed, Mayor Patrick Madden (D) of Troy, New York, vetoed a divisive sanctuary city resolution that the city council passed in a razor-thin vote. The so-called Families And Communities Together Act, or the FACT Act for short, passed the city council on July 11 by a vote of 4-3. One Democrat, Councilor T.J. Kennedy (D-District 6) broke rank to oppose the resolution.
In a written statement, Madden said he had problems with the language of the resolution and “could not ascribe [his] name to [it] in [his] capacity as mayor.” A week prior, he told reporters that he “remains opposed to a sanctuary designation” and would not support the resolution as written.
The original legislation, formerly known as Sanctuary Resolution 113, was tabled on December 6 after it became a flashpoint in the community, splitting the city’s liberal and conservative residents. At the time, Madden made clear he opposed it, saying the resolution would “create confusion” and give illegal aliens “a false sense of security.”
After months of discussion, the city council decided to revive the issue, and it amended the resolution. The amended version, now called the FACT Act, more clearly defines responsibilities of city employees and police officers when interacting with illegal aliens. Most notably, the resolution would have:
- Prohibited city employees and police officers from inquiring into an individual’s immigration status except during a criminal investigation;
- Prevented city employees and police officers from reporting any suspicions about immigration status to federal authorities;
- Restricted law enforcement personnel from enforcing federal immigration law or participating in any immigration enforcement activity;
- Prohibited local law enforcement from honoring immigration detainers; and
- Empowered the Troy Commission on Human Rights to review and make recommendations on municipal policies or practices related to immigration.
City Council President Carmella Mantello (R-At Large), who voted against the FACT Act, issued a statement shortly after Mayor Madden’s veto, saying “I think the Mayor did the right thing. The legislation that the Council acted upon last night was illegal and improper, and in violation of the Council’s own rules.”
Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin agreed, saying the resolution “is the wrong approach” to addressing illegal immigration in Rensselaer’s county seat. “[Y]ou don’t get to break our laws and then pay no consequence for that. You don’t just get to wipe the slate clean because you broke into this country”.
As expected, open-borders advocates criticized Madden’s veto. Groups like the ICE-Free Capital District and the Troy Democratic Socialists of America strongly condemned the veto, claiming the mayor had “aligned himself with area’s most xenophobic, far-right, extremist-elected officials.”
Councilor David Bissember (D-District 5), who sponsored the resolution, said he was “disappointed” with the mayor’s veto, believing the resolution is necessary to “protect the rights” of illegal aliens within the city limits.
It doesn’t appear as though the city council has enough votes to override the mayor’s veto. According to Troy’s city charter, a 2/3 supermajority (or five votes) is required for an override. Bissember acknowledged as much, saying the city council will “move on with the other great things we have going on with this city.”