ALBANY, 05/17/23 -- State Senator Peter Oberacker (R/C – Schenevus) today joined members of the Senate Republican Conference to call out the lack of transparency and leadership from state and federal officials regarding the rising migrant crisis.
“The rural communities I represent are not prepared to house undocumented migrants being shipped upstate and should not be on the hook for the failures of New York City, Albany, and Washington D.C.,” said Senator Peter Oberacker. “Once again, this is a case of passing the buck and usurping the will of local communities. New York City may have declared itself a sanctuary but other communities have not. Additionally, the lack of transparency and proper communication is inexcusable.”
New York City Mayor Eric Adams, who indicated the city is struggling to keep up with the incoming flow of migrants, announced he would begin bussing migrants to Rockland and Orange Counties, despite the counties not being properly equipped with resources to handle it. Additionally, other counties are being contacted by the state with an eye toward housing migrants at SUNY campuses.
“Several counties that I represent have already declared states of emergency because they do not have the resources to take on a large influx of migrants,” added Senator Oberacker.
Senator Oberacker joined his Senate Republican colleagues in sending a letter to the governor asking for greater transparency as to where migrants will be housed, where monies are being spent, and better communication between the administration and local municipalities. The letter reads in part: “With that, local elected officials should have the option to decline hosting migrants in their communities should they not have the necessary accommodations and other resources. This local option is imperative to ensuring local municipalities are held harmless and are adequately prepared.”
Senator Oberacker is also co-sponsoring a pair of related bills.
Senate Bill 6995 would clarify that a local state of emergency supersedes a state of emergency issued by the Governor when the two are in conflict. This would restore local control and allow municipalities to make decisions in the best interests of their communities.
Senate Bill 7009 would protect vulnerable populations – including veterans, victims of domestic violence, and the disabled – by prohibiting them from being ejected from a hotel, motel or shelter in order to make room for migrants.
“We must also recognize that there are very real security concerns that must be taken into consideration. Our country was founded by immigrants and I stand in support of those who come here legally. However, the current vetting process is extremely flawed and the federal government needs to take immediate action and enact policies that will protect the public,” added Senator Oberacker.
A copy of the letter to the governor, signed by every member of the Senate Republican Conference, is attached.