(The Center Square) — New York lawmakers are pushing for more transparency in asylum seekers’ relocations with proposals requiring advance notice to local governments when migrants are moved to upstate counties.
The bill filed by state Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, D-Rotterdam, calls for setting statewide guidelines to require advance notice to state and municipal officials before any resettlement, transportation, or relocation of migrants within New York state.
The move directly responds to New York City Mayor Eric Adams’s efforts to relocate asylum seekers to upstate hotels as the city grapples with tens of thousands of migrants.
Santabarbara pointed to a June relocation where a busload of migrants arrived at the Super 8 motel in Rotterdam without advance notice, leading to the eviction of other residents who were staying at the motel. He said the move led to a “chaotic and confusing situation” that left people with “poverty and personal hardships” and nowhere to go.
“These actions resulted in the relocation of migrants to the Super 8 motel in the town of Rotterdam, without any coordination or prior notice to local authorities, leading to the abrupt eviction of several Rotterdam residents with less than one hour’s notice,” he said in a statement.
The legislation would require New York City or other governments relocating migrants to produce monthly reports listing the number of migrants resettled or relocated during the previous month, including details about their ages, sex and country of origin. The relocating municipality must also list how much is spent on the resettlements.
A Republican-backed proposal, expected to be filed on Thursday, would require a 30-day notification to local governments but allow them to pass home-rule legislation to block any relocations to their communities.
The bill would include fines up to $1,000 per day, per person to New York City or the state if they relocate migrants to a community that has passed a law banning the relocations.
The bill’s primary sponsor, Sen. Jim Tedisco, R-Schenectady, wrote a scathing letter to Attorney General Letitia James last week blasting Adams for bussing the migrants to Rotterdam without notifying local officials.
“This is a shameful act of hypocrisy, with a total lack of communication and transparency by the Mayor of New York City who purports to lead a sanctuary city but then shuffles people off to an upstate community without preparation,” Tedisco wrote.
Meanwhile, Adams was traveling to Washington, D.C., on Thursday to meet with federal officials and plead for more funding to help his city deal with the influx of asylum seekers. This is his second visit to seek more federal funds to deal with the migrant crisis.
Over 90,000 migrants have come through New York City in the past year amid a surge of immigration along the southern border. The city is providing housing, food, and other necessities for more than 50,000 migrants and the city expects to spend more than $4 billion caring for migrants over the next two years.
Adams is also embroiled in a legal fight with 30 counties over a lawsuit he filed in June seeking to prevent local governments from blocking migrant relocations.