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Local Leaders Try to Get Ahead of Migrant Crisis

Assemblyman Matt Slater, R-Yorktown, joined Republican colleagues at a press conference last week in Albany to introduce bills they say would help ease the pressure of the migrant crisis.

The bill Slater introduced would allow the state to conduct background checks and track migrants until they receive asylum status.

“This needs to be a wake-up call for New York State and New York City that their purely political and misguided policies are acting as a magnet that has brought the crisis at the southern border right to our front yards,” he said. “Now, with Homeland Security Secretary Mayorcas releasing migrants on their honor, with no court date or process in place, New York must take the necessary actions to register and track those who have crossed the border illegally to ensure our communities are protected and they do not fall through the cracks of our broken system.”

Following a call with New York City Mayor Eric Adams and county officials throughout the state, Putnam County Executive Kevin Byrne last week sent a letter to the Adams’ office expressing concerns about the relocation of asylum seekers to Hudson Valley counties without proper coordination with local municipalities.

In the letter, Byrne requested Adams’ advocacy in communicating the dismay with President Joe Biden and demanding a comprehensive federal immigration policy to address the thousands of people crossing the nation’s southern border daily. The letter also highlights last week’s expiration of Title 42, which is expected to put an even greater strain on the ever-growing backlog of immigration court cases.

“It is critical that this crisis is addressed at the federal level,” said Byrne. “The Biden Administration’s lack of planning has put communities throughout New York State in this perilous position. We understand this humanitarian crisis is not of Mayor Adams’ making, but it is NYC that has chosen to take on this responsibility, not Putnam County. I appreciated the mayor’s office finally deciding to be transparent, but it’s a little late for that. They set in motion a plan to send migrants to Orange and Rockland weeks ago, and only just informed those municipalities days before it would happen.”

Following the call with the mayor, Byrne convened a call with all town supervisors and village mayors in Putnam County to share information as this crisis emerges. During the call, he updated officials on the current situation and potential actions the county could take moving forward.

Byrne said his office has been in communication with all neighboring counties (Rockland, Orange, Dutchess, Westchester) about their plans moving forward, in an effort to foster transparency in the face of radio silence from NYC, the federal government and the State of New York.


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