ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The New York State Assembly has passed a series of bills strengthening protections for immigrants – including one that makes New York a sanctuary state.

As WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reported, it took time for the leadership to round up the votes to pass the bill, which blocks state and local police from enforcing federal immigration law.

Assemblyman Francisco Moya (D-Queens), who sponsored the bill, called it a moral imperative.

The assembly also passed a bill reducing the maximum sentence for some misdemeanors from a year to 364 days, so that they will not trigger automatic deportation under federal law.

Assemblyman Marcos Crespo (D-The Bronx) sponsored the bill.

“Unlike the recent comments of our president, I actually believe that our judges are more than capable of being impartial in assessing those conditions and making that determination,” Crespo said.

Assemblyman Ron Castorina Jr. (R-Staten Island) argued that the bill could end up helping those charged with felonies who plead them down.

“I think it was not thought out,” he said.

The future of the package in the Republican-controlled state Senate is at best unclear.

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