Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz made note of a banner he saw at an Owego church in announcing he would not declare an emergency in response to potential asylum seekers.

Broome, Tioga and several other upstate New York counties have declared states of emergency because of concerns that migrants might be sent to their communities.

Poloncarz, a Democrat, issued a statement indicating he would not declare a state of emergency regarding the possibility that legal asylum seekers might be housed in Erie County.

The county executive also said he would not issue an order prohibiting the housing of asylum seekers. In his statement, Poloncarz wrote: "Not only is such an order illegal under Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it is morally repugnant."

Poloncarz said while he was in Owego Friday to attend an event, he came across a banner in front of an Episcopal church "that perfectly says what many need to hear: Love your neighbor who doesn't look like you, think like you, love like you, speak like you, pray like you, vote like you. Love your Neighbor. No Exceptions."

The banner Poloncarz referenced is at St. Paul's Episcopal Church at the corner of Main and Liberty streets in Owego.

Poloncarz could not be reached for comment on Monday.

This banner at St. Pauls Episcopal Church at 117 Main Street in Owego caught the eye of Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz. Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News
This banner at St. Paul's Episcopal Church at 117 Main Street in Owego caught the eye of Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)
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Contact WNBF News reporter Bob Joseph: or (607) 545-2250. For breaking news and updates on developing stories, follow @BinghamtonNow on Twitter.

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