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Communities resist NYC mayor's plan to bus migrants to other parts of New York State: 'Passing of the buck'

Migrants being bused in El Paso (credit: KFOX14/CBS4)
Migrants being bused in El Paso (credit: KFOX14/CBS4)
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New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced Friday that New York City would bus over 300 willing migrants to the local suburbs and put them up in hotels ahead of an expected surge following Title 42's expiration later this week.

However, one of the communities that Adams said he would send migrants to is pushing back, arguing it is "not equipped" to handle the sudden increase of migrants.

Rockland County, one of the two counties Adams said he would be transporting single, adult male migrants to, issued a 30-day state of emergency in response to Adams's plan. The emergency declaration prohibits other municipalities, like New York City, from sending migrants to Rockland County and requires hotels and motels to have a license to house them.

The Town of Orangetown and Rockland County are small localities that are not equipped to handle this sudden increase in the need for services as County Executive Day and the Commissioner of Social Services have pointed rightly out," Orangetown Supervisor Teresa Kenny wrote in a Facebook post Friday following news of the mayor's plan. "I agree that this calls for a Federal, not a local solution. The people that NYC is sending to Orangetown have been failed first by the Federal government, which has not adequately addressed immigration issues, and now by the City of New York, which had let people know that they would take them in as a sanctuary city. To send these people to a location that is not equipped to meet their needs, is a betrayal of that often-expressed desire by NYC to be a sanctuary for them."

On Sunday, the building supervisor for Orangetown issued a Notice of Violation to a local hotel that appeared to be preparing to house migrants sent to Rockland County from other locations. The notice came after the town's building supervisor conducted a site visit at the hotel over the weekend and found evidence the establishment was preparing to house and care for migrants on a long-term basis.

The intended use of the hotel by individuals for up to four months of extended, non-transient housing, including having non-hotel staff located on site, and with the provisions for a medical service provider specifically for these non-transient tenants, is not consistent with the definition of a 'Hotel' as set forth in the Town Code," the violation stated. "Such proposed change in use and type of occupancy constitutes a violation of the Certificate of Occupancy authorizing the use of the property as a 'Hotel.'"

The criticism Adams is facing for his "unfortunate passing of the buck" is similar to the criticism he gave to border state Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas, who has been bussing migrants to New York City since August of last year in an effort to free up state resources that have been strained amid the on-going migrant crisis.

Last week, Abbott doubled down, insisting he would not stop bussing migrants to Democratic cities — despite pushback — until the Biden administration takes steps to secure the border and quell the massive flow of migrants along the southern border.

Since last spring, more than 60,800 asylum seekers have made their way to New York City. Currently, almost 40,000 remain in the city's care, according to the mayor's office.

The transportation of migrants to hotels in both Rockland and Orange Counties is meant to free up additional space for the "hundreds" of asylum seekers the city expects will arrive in New York City after Title 42 expires later this week.

Congress and the President need to wake up and do what needs to be done by fixing our broken immigration system once and for all," Rockland County Executive Ed Day said, according to the Mid Hudson News. "This is not about being anti-immigration but as it stands the system is incentivizing illegal immigration which does nothing to support our infrastructure; rather it is just draining taxpayer resources from the families already here and struggling including homeless, disabled, seniors, low-income, and other vulnerable populations."

A spokesperson for Mayor Adams similarly challenged the Bide administration to "step up," when reached for comment on this story, but also had a few choice words for Day.

New York City has cared for more than 61,000 migrants — sheltering, feeding, and caring for them, and we have done so largely without incident. 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," Adams's spokesperson told The National Desk (TND). "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 1/4 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."