migrant crisis

Rockland County Declares Emergency Order to Stop NYC Plan to Bus Migrants North

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A state of emergency was declared in Rockland County where officials there say they "would not stand" for New York City's decision to shuttle hundreds of migrants north amid hotel occupancy concerns in the city.

The emergency declaration Saturday comes a day after Mayor Eric Adams announced plans to bus up to 300 asylum seekers to two hotels in the Hudson Valley, a plan quickly denounced by local officials wondering why they were not given any warning or say in the matter.

In addition to the Orangeburg hotel, migrants will also be transported to a hotel in the Orange County town of Orange Lake.

County Executive Ed Day said some 340 men are expected to be shuttled to a hotel in Orangeburg for a four-month period followed by an integration period. He also said the county informed Adams they were not OK with his call.

“This county already has a housing crisis due to the lack thereof and lack of affordable housing options," Ed'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.”

According to Day, the declaration runs for 30 days and bars the city from shuttling the migrants north, and does not allow for any hotels or motels to house any without specific licensing to do so.

Orangetown Supervisor Teresa Kenny (Orangeburg is a hamlet of Orangetown) said that Mayor Eric Adams called her Friday morning with the news.

"I actually said it point blank confirming you’re not asking for permission – you’re calling as a courtesy, and he confirmed that, yes," she said. "It's disappointing because we do have a lot of questions."

Day said Adams was being hypocritical for sending migrants away from his city up to Orange and Rockland counties.

"Mayor Adams is always whining about he and other mayors who are African American have been picked on by Republicans...turn around and now what is he doing? He's doing the exact same thing," Day said. "He's bringing migrants to Republican towns. Orange County, Republican county. Rockland County, Republican county. How interesting is that?"

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.

Fellow Republican Rep. Mike Lawler criticized the mayor for his bussing plan, saying "Rockland County is not a sanctuary county, unlike New York City and its boroughs, and should not bear the costs associated with the Biden administration's abject failure on border security and immigration policy."

NYC said it will foot the bill for sheltering, feeding and providing wrap-around services for the migrants for up to four months. There's still a chance the city could lease other hotels too.

Kenny, also a Republican, said city officials told her that all the migrants being taken to the hotel in her town are single men, but it's unclear when they're coming and how many will be staying at the hotel.

"One of the things I asked point blank are they doing background checks, do they have criminal records. And I was told they didn’t know," said Kenny.

Pictures taken Friday afternoon show a stack of mattresses outside of the inn. Hotel staff inside declined to talk to NBC New York, saying they were too busy preparing to take in the migrants.

"The community is already saturated with people who are not documented, we have day workers on a regular basis that are trying to find jobs," said Orangeburg resident Scott Stout.

In a statement, Mayor Adams, a Democrat, said "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."

But local officials still want more information and details regarding the plan.

"The more info that we can tell and say to our residents is only going to make it that much better for everyone involved," Kenny said.

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