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Cayuga County continues state of emergency amidst immigrant housing crisis

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

Cayuga County officials declared a state of emergency in response to the national immigration crisis, emphasizing the influx of migrants and asylum seekers into the United States without shelter, medical, or legal services.

Aileen McNabb-Coleman, Chair of the Cayuga County Legislature, signed the emergency aiming to safeguard the health, safety, and welfare of local residents. The directive arises as cities attempt to relocate shelter seekers to upstate counties, including Cayuga, without proper coordination or plans for the associated costs of essential services like food, shelter, and healthcare. The extension also comes as county officials say they have a growing housing crisis that hinges on local homeless populations.

Under the new order, no person or entity within Cayuga County may engage with municipalities outside the county to provide housing or other services to homeless individuals without explicit written permission from the Legislature’s Chair. This measure intends to manage the local impacts and resources effectively, amid concerns over uncoordinated efforts by other municipalities that could compromise Cayuga County’s ability to serve its residents.

The order also stipulates severe penalties for violations, including civil penalties of up to $2,000 per migrant or asylum seeker per day. Enforcement will be handled by the Cayuga County Sheriff, with the power to issue appearance tickets and initiate actions for injunctions or penalties as prescribed by New York State law. The directive emphasizes the county’s commitment to maintaining public order and resource allocation during this challenging period.