Emerging news reports indicate that states of emergency declared in several Western New York counties, including Allegany, Cattaraugus and Wyoming, related to possible influxes of migrants and asylum seekers, may be based on erroneous premises.
Spectrum News 1, in stories from various state locations, is reporting that Gov. Kathy Hochul is seeking welcoming communities to assist with the influx of thousands of individuals being bused to New York City from southern border states, rather than forcing counties to accept immigrants; housing is the major issue trying to be resolved, with college campuses, hotels and motels and other suitable lodging facilities being sought for immediate lodging; state money to assist migrants is following the individuals and families to any state location, not requiring local governments to pay the bills; and there already has been an apparent fabrication of a story, bought into by government leaders, that homeless veterans are being removed from spaces in order to accommodate migrants.
State funds available
The governor had reported earlier this month that a $1 billion funding commitment was included in the new state budget for New York City, including $741 million for shelter costs, $162 million to support the ongoing National Guard presence, $137 million in health care through NYC Care, $26 million in public assistance, $25 million for the voluntary relocation of families to permanent housing and an additional $5 million for enhanced support through the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, and $10 million for legal assistance through the Office of New Americans. Additional emergency funding also is being requested from the federal government.
Allegany County actions
Allegany County Board of Legislators Chairman W. Brooke Harris of Alfred, as Allegany Hope Community News reported Friday, issued a State of Emergency at 1PM due to “New York City’s actions to rapidly divert the number of migrants to other Counties in New York State to unsustainable levels.”
The declaration, however, which wasn’t publicly broadcast until more than two hours later, appeared to have no immediate weight, saying only that “(l)ocal emergency orders may be enacted subsequent to this declaration.”
Despite social media comments and conjecture by the public, there currently is no prohibition against migrant housing or other actions within the County.
Although Allegany County posted its State of Emergency and accompanying press releases that says the county is “not aware of any attempt by either New York City or New York State to facilitate the relocation of migrants to Allegany County,” contents of declarations or statements by leaders in Cattaraugus and Wyoming County weren’t readily discoverable on their websites or Facebook pages.
Erie County Executive condemns neighboring actions
In Buffalo, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz isn’t agreeing with states of emergency in neighboring counties.
In a yesterday morning Facebook post, the official said “I won’t be declaring a state of emergency regarding the possibility that legal asylum seekers may be housed in our county. I will not be issuing an emergency order prohibiting the housing of such persons. Not only is such an order illegal, it is morally repugnant.”
He said that “Buffalo and Erie County have always been welcoming communities to immigrants. During the past decade we have successfully assimilated thousands of immigrants into our community, many refugees from despotic lands.
“This is one reason for the great rebirth of many previously down-trodden neighborhoods in Buffalo,” he said, adding that “(u)nless you are a Native American, all of us are the descendants of immigrants ….”
His full statement is available at https://bit.ly/42Wadlh.
No response received from Allegany County
Harris, at this writing, hasn’t responded to email and text queries from Allegany Hope Community News as to what appears to be a conflict between the State of Emergency declaration and legal requirements for such action, the apparent conflict between the declaration and the news release as to imminent danger, whether there will be timely notification to county residents if any emergency orders should be issued, and whether the county’s action, in essence, is a paper exercise.
The current State of Emergency remains in effect for 30 days or until rescinded or renewed.
Various Spectrum News 1 stories from around the state include:
— Hochul says migrant housing search focusing on ‘welcoming communities‘: https://bit.ly/3WDmzwB
— Story of veterans displaced by migrants was fabricated, elected officials now say: https://bit.ly/42TxVhX
— WNY has experience placing migrants on SUNY campuses: https://bit.ly/3MpMvXD