Last week, New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced a plan to relocate migrants from the city to nearby suburban counties. The announcement came after Republican governors of several states paid to bus asylum seekers to Democratic-led cities like New York.
One of those impacted suburbs is now imposing fines to try to stop Adams’ plan.
Rockland County, New York, located on the western side of the Hudson River north of the city, declared a state of emergency this weekend. Officials in both New York City and Rockland County have said that a surge of migrants causes a strain on local resources.
"This county already has a housing crisis due to the lack of affordable housing options,” said County Executive Ed Day. “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.”
One of the two areas Adams intended to send migrants was Orangeburg, New York, a town of about 4,500 residents in Rockland County. Adams’ office said it intends to bus only adult men to hotels and provide housing for them for up to four months.
“This new, voluntary program will provide asylum seekers with temporary housing, access to services, and connections to local communities as they build a stable life in New York state,” Adams said. “New York City continues to step up and handle this crisis, and this new program is an extension of our compassionate response, but these actions do not mean we still don’t need urgent action, including a national decompression strategy, financial resources, expedited work authorization, and real immigration reform from Congress.”
Adams’ executive order comes as Title 42 is expected to expire this week.Title 42 is a pandemic-era policy that allows the U.S. to expedite deportations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The expiration of Title 42 coincides with the Biden administration ending the nation’s COVID-19 emergency.
Both Adams and Day have criticized federal leaders for inaction regarding immigration.
"Mayor Eric Adams is criticizing Congress for their failure to establish a strategy for each migrant before they enter into the country, ensuring this crisis is dealt with in a coordinated manner, and then does the exact opposite — shipping new arrivals to other municipalities that do not have the infrastructure to support them,” Day said. “It's the same as tossing people into the middle of the ocean with nowhere to swim.”
Adams’ office says New York City has received over 60,000 migrants since last spring, and the city is continuing to care for 37,500. The mayor's office said the city has opened 122 hotels as emergency shelters and eight humanitarian relief centers.
New York City leaders also say they expect numbers to increase once Title 42 expires.
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