migrant crisis

‘Racist' and ‘Antisemitic': NYC Mayor Rails Against Rockland Co. Official Amid Migrant Crisis

Mayor Eric Adams also compared Rockland County Executive Ed Day to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

NBC Universal, Inc.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams referred to Rockland County Executive Ed Day as racist and antisemitic Thursday, comparing him to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott amid the ongoing battle over plans to house asylum seekers in the Hudson Valley.

This latest development comes as sheriff's officers were posted outside the Armoni Hotel in the Rockland County town of Orangeburg a day earlier, where a temporary restraining order is in place barring migrants from moving in.

NYC was looking to send a couple hundred migrant men to the northern suburbs at what the mayor's staff would be an emergency-use hotel. But Rockland Officials said that would simply be subterfuge for an illegal city-run shelter.

"This is a renegade operation on the part of the mayor, and I cannot even begin to believe what's going on at this point," Day said Wednesday. "I have never seen such bullying and arrogance in my entire career."

The busing of migrants to the suburbs despite local opposition is sparking a major legal battle. Sarah Wallace reports.

On Wednesday, the mayor's press secretary responded by saying, quote, "we will allow the hotel to decide how to move forward in Rockland County, but our plan is still to move a small number of asylum seekers to Orange County, barring any security issues."

However, on Thursday, the mayor had harsher words for Day.

"So when you look at the County Executive Day — this guy has a record of being antisemitic, racist comments. His thoughts and how he responded to this really shows a lack of leadership. I thought he was the Texas governor the way he acted," Adams said.

In response, Day said that Adams "can call me every name in the book to deflect the reality of this former officer’s clear disregard for our laws. 

“Between his actions underscoring his belief that he is above local and state law, his disregard for State of Emergencies, and ongoing deception to the State of New York, Rockland County, and most recently Orange County --which was blindsided Thursday morning after being told by Adams they were holding off with their plan -- speaks volumes about the character of Mayor Adams," Day's response went on to say. “I’ll do whatever is necessary to safeguard all the lives involved that this plan will without question endanger."

Officials in Orange County are even more furious at Mayor Adams tonight after 2 buses of migrants arrived in their neighborhood. Melissa Russo reports.

The "blindsiding" that Day mentioned referred to what occurred Thursday morning, when NYC put its controversial plan to relocate migrants to the suburbs into action. Two buses filled with asylum seekers arrived at the Crossroads Hotel in Newburgh, despite the state of emergency in place there and in Rockland County.

Volunteers from immigrant justice groups greeted the buses carrying about 60 male asylum seekers from the city, most of whom got to NYC in the past few days and volunteered to head to the hotel rather than stay in the city. The move came in stark contrast to what Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus said in a video he posted online Wednesday night, when he said "for the time being, no buses from New York City with asylum seekers are coming."

That did not turn out to be the case. Neuhaus on Thursday blasted Mayor Adams, saying "The New York State Police, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, the Supervisor of the town of Newburgh and his police department were not notified these buses would be arriving today. Sadly, we have learned that you cannot trust the word of New York City’s Mayor and the leadership of New York."

"It's a complete mess and the government has not been forthright and honest with us," he continued in a new video Thursday. "We were misled by the city of New York. The state of New York was misled."

Gov. Kathy Hochul said she spoke with Neuhaus earlier in the day, where he "commended" her and her team for communicating with the county since learning of Adams' plan on Friday. Leaders in the suburban counties insist Hochul is on their side and opposes the plan to ship migrant to hotels in their areas — a notion the governor appeared to confirm earlier in the day.

"We have been working so close with the Mayor's office, trying to identify sites close to where the migrants are arriving and where there are services," said Hochul.

One day after declaring a state of emergency, Rockland and Orange county leaders say they've heard nothing from City Hall. Sarah Wallace reports.

A spokesperson for Adams said that Neuhaus' comments on Wednesday were not accurate, and all that had been mentioned was the program being paused, even though "our plans had not changed."

After staying mum for a few days regarding his plan to move migrants, Mayor Adams addressed the controversy on Thursday.

"We are communicating with the officials up there on what we're doing. Now, some may not like it, but people can't say we're not communicating," Adams said.

In a call with the mayor's staff on Tuesday, Orangetown Supervisor Teresa Kenny was still fuming over the fact that beds suddenly showed up at the Armani Hotel last weekend.

"It was a sneak attack in the middle of the night. They gave us a debriefing call at 4:30 p.m. yesterday and told us buses were still coming," said Kenny.

While there is a temporary injunction in place to prevent the hotel from accepting migrants, Rockland County is seeking a permanent injunction against New York City and the hotel. A hearing is scheduled for Monday morning.

In anticipation of a new influx of migrants coming to the tri-state as COVID-era immigration restrictions known as "Title 42" are set to expire, New York City Mayor Eric Adams issued an executive order loosening the city's legal restrictions on right-to-shelter rules.

The order, announced Wednesday night, effectively will target three things. First, it suspends a rule prohibiting families with children from being housed in congregate settings, such as barracks-style shelters. The change allows the city to place families in already established shelters rather than looking for new places (like hotels outside the city) to house families.

Given the strain put on the system by the migrants sent to the city (which has seen an 83% increase in shelter population since 2022), Adams said it's "just not realistic" that NYC would still be able to provide families private units with bathrooms and kitchens.

Another change would relax a rule requiring the city to get a bed for people within a certain time-frame. Before the mayor's executive order, families with children who applied for shelter before 10 p.m. were guaranteed placement in a shelter unit at some point that night.

Despite massive pushback from suburban counties, New York City is going ahead with its migrant relocation plan. Sarah Wallace reports.

The order also loosens a rule regarding unlawful evictions and how they apply to shelter residents. Under the exception, those who are put into hotels would be excluded from the rule that anyone living in a NYC dwelling for 30 days can't be immediately evicted without certain legal proceedings.

A city spokesperson said it was "not a decision taken lightly and we will make every effort to get asylum seekers into shelter as quickly as possible."

City Council did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the matter. Hochul backed the mayor's decision, saying "these are unprecedented actions, but these are unprecedented times."

The Legal Aid Society and Coalition for the Homeless said in a joint statement in which they said that the executive order's changes could "force families with children to languish at the City’s intake facility for extended periods of time, potentially days on end, prolonging suffering that no human being should experience."

The statement said Adams is "heading down a dangerous road" and that the right-to-shelter laws "have protected people from immeasurable harm" for decades. The groups said modifying the rules could put families at risk.

"This order could potentially lead to the City regularly placing homeless families with children in congregate settings, a dangerous and widely condemned practice of the distant past," the statement read. "We recognize the efforts from City staff to avoid putting people in harm’s way, but we’ve learned through experience that congregate shelters put families and children at risk of communicable diseases and sexual assault, and they adversely impact mental health."

The Legal Aid Society and Coalition for the Homeless said they are considering their options, including possible litigation.

Meanwhile, the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) announced it has sued Rockland and Orange county for barring the arrival of migrants.

"Orange and Rockland County’s Emergency Orders egregiously violate migrants’ rights,” Director of Immigrants’ Rights Litigation at the New York Civil Liberties Union Amy Belsher said. “Migrants have every right to travel and reside anywhere in New York, free of xenophobic harassment and discrimination. People are not political pawns – both counties should welcome migrants into their communities, not unlawfully bar them from seeking refuge.”

In issuing its executive orders, both Rockland and Orange counties invoked a non-existent emergency, raising the specter of “thousands” of immigrants entering the counties and burdening social services. However, there are no large-scale plans for migrants to move to these counties nor any immediate need for the counties to absorb the costs of caring for those who choose to do so. 

Contact Us