Migrant advocate pushes for state emergency declaration to move migrants upstate

BREAKING: A New York City Legal Aid Society attorney is pushing for Gov. Kathy Hochul to declare a state of emergency which would override those of many counties and enable the transport of migrants who are sleeping on sidewalks in the City to Upstate areas.

Allegany County had declared a State of Emergency in regard to the migrant situation back in May, but then let the action, which had no specific directives, to expire on June 18 due to no emergency actually having been determined.

Yesterday’s comments reportedly came from staff attorney Joshua Goldfein, after State Supreme Court Erika Edwards, during an emergency court hearing, told New York City to submit a list of funding and other migrant assistance items it needs from the state by this coming Wednesday, with Governor Kathy Hochul to respond by the following Tuesday, August 15, the day before the next scheduled court date.

The case emanates from decades-old “right to shelter” legal agreements which the judge apparently oversees which requires New York City to provide a shelter bed to any person in need.

Videos, however, started popping up this week, of migrants being forced to sleep on the sidewalk in front of the Roosevelt Hotel, the city’s temporary intake center, resulting in the court hearing.

The New York Daily News quoted Goldfein as saying that Hochul should promptly issue an executive order prohibiting counties in New York from refusing to accommodate migrants, as some Republican-run jurisdictions upstate have.

Goldfein also was quoted by the Gothamist as saying “the state has not taken ownership of what is a statewide issue,” and that ‘there are places around the state [where] they could be sheltered. There are labor shortages around the state. There are communities that would welcome people.”

Allegany County’s action, which was questionable from the start due to the county admitting there was no known threat, contrasted with neighboring Steuben County which declined to issue a declaration due to state law which “requires specific thresholds for an emergency to be declared, including the presence of ‘an immediate danger,’” which hadn’t been demonstrated.

Not having an accompanying order to the State of Emergency for county residents, businesses or others to follow apparently saved Allegany County from a lawsuit filed on June 7 by New York City against 33 other counties which had sought to prohibit migrants or asylum seekers from being transported into their areas for lodging purposes.