Rep. Molinaro calls for federal State of Emergency as migrant crisis looms

Published: May. 19, 2023 at 5:06 PM EDT
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BINGHAMTON (WBNG) -- As asylum seekers are potentially relocated to Upstate communities from New York City, Representative Marc Molinaro (R, NY-19) said the city should seek assistance from the federal government, not from rural communities.

“New York City has no jurisdiction, no right and no authority to export the challenge they face to other counties,” said Molinaro. “Dollars are not the only concern. The city has the capacity and with a federal declaration of emergency, the federal government can assist to address and provide a solution within the city.”

Molinaro said he has spoken to other congressional representatives in order to put pressure on Democratic President Joe Biden to declare a federal State of Emergency.

Many counties within the 19th district, like Broome County, Tioga County and Cortland County, have declared state of emergencies in response to the potential relocation of migrants.

Molinaro said these counties lack the resources to be able to take on a large number of migrants.

“Counties like Broome, Tioga, Chenango and Cortland just don’t have the capacity, the infrastructure or the information necessary to take on this challenge,” said Molinaro.

The Republican is calling for better communication between Upstate and New York City Mayor Eric Adams, a Democrat.

“They should be expected to explain what number or challenge they’re facing currently whether or not they intend to move migrants to other counties,” said Molinaro. “Then seek support from those counties and where there is no support they should acknowledge and respect that.”

Governor Kathy Hochul has spoken publically about the possibility of moving asylum seekers to SUNY campuses while school is not in session. Molinaro said campuses should not be used for this purpose under any condition.

“Federal and state dollars go to community colleges and SUNY schools all across the state,” said Molinaro. “They are not established to be shelters. Even during COVID when we needed to move individuals in many cases those were not the first places we turned to because they are not organized for this purpose.”

In New York City, migrants are currently being housed in public school gymnasiums. The historic Roosevelt Hotel also reopened for migrants seeking asylum.

In Broome County, Sheriff Fred Akshar said hotels were at least contacted about the possibility of moving migrants upstate. However, Akshar said these hotels declined offers to house asylum seekers.