According to the Pew Research Center, the Syracuse area is home to the smallest population of undocumented immigrants in the nation when compared to other metropolitan areas. The study revealed that there are fewer than 5,000 people in the entire region who can be considered as “unauthorized.”
Unauthorized status in this case refers to any person who has illegally crossed the border or stayed in the country after a legitimate visa has expired. The study found that these individuals make up less than 1% of the entire Syracuse region and only about 4% of the foreign-born population there.
Albany and Buffalo were low on the Pew Research Center list as well, coming in at the bottom of a list of 155 urban areas around the nation. Cities like Los Angeles and New York ranked on the opposite end of the spectrum, coming in as the top centers for unauthorized immigrants.
Ironically, Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner has declared Syracuse as a sanctuary city for the undocumented. This means that city police and other resources will not be used to detain or deport anyone violating U.S. immigration law.
Despite the city’s status as a sanctuary city for immigrants, surrounding areas have recently been the target of controversial arrests of undocumented residents. One such instance happened just last week in Geneseo, NY.
Geneseo police pulled over a van for speeding, and when U.S. identification couldn’t be produced, called border patrol agents. Two women and two children, ages two months and 12 years old, were taken into custody as SUNY Geneseo students and faculty looked on.
The incident came shortly after five farm workers were arrested in Albion earlier in the week. These arrests had already sparked protests in nearby Rochester, and the situation in Geneseo further inflamed pro-immigration activists.
The arrests sparked protests throughout Geneseo and Rochester. One such event in Rochester saw two demonstrators arrested.
The students and faculty at SUNY Geneseo saw firsthand that even if an immigrant hasn’t been accused or suspected of a crime, they can still be arrested for not producing a valid U.S. driver’s license or having auto insurance. According to the Insurance Research Council, one out of seven U.S. drivers is uninsured, but arrests rarely happen in similar cases involving natural-born citizens.
All of the individuals taken into custody were released a short time after being brought to the Rochester border patrol offices.