Major pushback from a New York suburb over Mayor Eric Adams’ plan to house a few hundred asylum seekers outside the city has escalated beyond a war of words, with county officials declaring a state of emergency to block the effort.
Adams announced his plan Friday to bus migrants to hotels in Rockland and Orange counties, a plan quickly denounced by local officials who said they received no advance warning. There’s been some debate about that figure, but the city says up to 300 adult male migrants would be bussed on a voluntary basis.
The relocation plan is a step by the city to assist the 37,500 migrants currently in its care, Adams’ Friday announcement explained. NYC said it will foot the bill for sheltering, feeding and providing wrap-around services for the migrants for up to four months.
The city is bracing for “an even larger influx” of asylum seekers ahead of the federal government’s end of the COVID-era immigration restrictions known as Title 42. It’s set to expire May 11.
County officials in Rockland responded to the mayor’s plan by triggering a state of emergency over the weekend. On Saturday, County Executive Ed Day announced the order barring outside municipalities from bringing people into Rockland County. Hotels and motels are also prohibited from housing migrants without a license.
“This county already has a housing crisis due to the lack thereof and lack of affordable housing options,” Day’s statement said. “Sending busloads of people to this county that does not have the infrastructure to care for them will only compound that issue tenfold while straining support systems that are already at a breaking point.”
The state of emergency will remain in effect for at least 30 days and include fines of $2,000 per migrant for the hotels and for any municipality that sends migrants to Rockland.
Day, flanked by Congressman Mike Lawlor and Orangetown Supervisor Teresa Kenny, publicly decried Adams’ moves in a press conference Monday morning. They didn’t mince their words.
“Rockland is not going to stand idly by while your administration, with boasts itself as a sanctuary city, diverts busloads of undocumented individuals to our county,” Day’s message direct to Adams started. “This is incentivizing illegal immigration and it does not to support out infrastructure or the hard-working citizens we’re elected to serve.”
The officials at the morning press conference argue the mayor’s “temporary fix” should not fall to the county, which they say is already overburdened by housing issues and has not committed to offering sanctuary status to incoming migrants.
Lawler called the relocation effort “wildly unfair,” following his Friday remarks that the county “should not bear the costs associated with the Biden administration’s abject failure on border security and immigration policy.”
Kenny said Adams first notified her of the plans Friday morning over a phone call. Three days later, she says they still don’t know when the first buses could arrive.
“Most importantly, we don’t know, despite asking, if these people have been vetted, do they have criminal records?” Kenny said Monday. Orangetown, she said, is prepared to take legal action.
“This is going to be a New York City-run shelter in the town of Orangetown, our town code does not allow that,” she said. “I’m sorry Mr. Mayor, you don’t trump our laws.”
Moments after the press conference, Adams’ spokesperson gave News 4 a statement condemning the rhetoric of the Rockland leaders in the wake of the ongoing crisis.
“The Rockland County executive has sadly already shown he is not a leader this state needs. Instead, we’ve been met with racist rhetoric and reprehensible threats from the head of a county that will be tasked with caring for less than ¼ of 1% of the asylum seekers who have come to New York City, and, once again, New York would be paying for shelter, food, and services,” Fabien Levy, his press secretary, said.
“We need the federal government to step up, but until they do, we need other elected officials around the state and country to do their part and emulate the humane and compassionate approach New York City has taken over the past year.”
There is pushback from a Rockland County community set to receive hundreds of migrants sent from NYC, as officials in Orangeburg learned that one of the hamlet’s two hotels is expected to house 340 undocumented men for the next four months. But leaders in the area are rejecting the plan. NBC New York’s Melissa Colorado reports.
Source: NBC New York
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