State Senator Tom O’Mara (R,C-Big Flats) pressed counties, cities, towns, and villages in the Upstate New York region to issue emergency orders, aiming to counter Governor Kathy Hochul and NYC Mayor Eric Adams’ plans to relocate asylum-seeking migrants from New York City. O’Mara criticized the state’s response, stating, “Upstate localities should take every possible step, including issuing emergency orders, to exert local control,” emphasizing his concerns about the potential influx of migrants to the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions.
New York City, recognized as a sanctuary city, has seen over 100,000 asylum-seekers since spring 2022. The vast number has strained the city’s resources, prompting the joint efforts of Adams and Hochul to find alternate shelters throughout the state. While migrant advocacy groups push Hochul for executive action against county-level relocation restrictions, the Biden administration recently rejected a proposal to use a large, underutilized military airfield in Brooklyn for migrants.
Several local areas have responded by enacting emergency orders, requiring local approval before accepting migrants in hotels and other facilities. While NYC has filed lawsuits against some of these bans, a recent Manhattan court ruling determined that legal challenges should be addressed in the counties where the orders originated. O’Mara, along with fellow Senate Republicans, has consistently spotlighted what they perceive as a lack of transparency and leadership at the state level.
Over the past year, there have been calls for greater clarity on migrant placements, expenditure details, and enhanced communication with local municipalities. Legislation has been proposed to address the situation, including bills that prioritize local emergency orders over state mandates and protections for specific vulnerable groups from displacement in favor of migrant accommodations.
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