Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt, along with members of the Senate Republican Conference, today requested a full, transparent accounting of taxpayer dollars being spent on the ongoing migrant crisis, and introduced several pieces of legislation in response to the crisis.
In a letter to State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, members of the Senate Republican Conference requested a full accounting of taxpayer dollars being used by the state to respond to the migrant crisis. In an effort to keep the public informed, they requested that every dollar spent be updated and made public by the Comptroller’s office, similar to the way COVID funding was tracked throughout the pandemic on the agency’s website.
“The handling of this crisis has been a failure of leadership from Democrats on the state and federal level. It’s been exacerbated by a complete lack of transparency and communication. With $1 billion or more of taxpayer money being used, the public deserves a full and accurate accounting of exactly what those funds are being used for and who is receiving them,” said Senator Ortt.
The State Budget adopted earlier this month included $1 billion for reimbursement of 29 percent of the costs related to the migrant crisis for New York City as follows: $741 million for shelter costs $162 million for the National Guard, $137 million for health care, $26 million in public assistance and $25 million for relocation of families to permanent housing.
“While New York City has chosen to be a sanctuary city and has been more than willing to accept the influx of migrants from the southern border crisis, few other municipalities in the State have made such designation. As such, the rest of the State should not be subjected to the inability of New York City to provide care to these individuals,” the Senators wrote.
The Senators also announced several new pieces of legislation will be introduced to address the crisis, including bills that would:
> Prohibit the housing of migrants on SUNY campuses (STEC);
> Prohibit the housing of migrants in K-12 schools in New York City (LANZA);
> Prohibit the housing of migrants in K-12 schools throughout the state (WEIK); and
> Institute the New Yorkers Combating Alien Recidivism and Ending Sanctuary (NY CARES) Act, prohibits local governments and entities thereof, including sheriffs departments, municipal police departments and district attorney's offices, from adopting laws or policies which impede or interfere with the enforcement of federal immigration laws. S.6964 (Senator Dean Murray)
“When Democrats rushed to declare New York a sanctuary city, they ignored the financial costs and consequences of their actions. Despite receiving $1 billion in aid in the state budget to manage this self-inflicted crisis, Mayor Eric Adams and Governor Hochul are instead looking to pass costs and responsibilities onto upstate communities and SUNY campuses that lack the infrastructure and financial resources to handle this issue. This is absolutely unacceptable and I’m proud to join my Senate Republican colleagues in taking action to ensure our region’s taxpayers aren’t responsible for the mayor and governor’s costly political grandstanding,” said Senator Dan Stec.
"We pass laws for a reason and that reason is to keep our citizens and our communities safe. Prohibiting local law enforcement from enforcing laws and working with their federal partners does just the opposite. Not only is it sending a terrible message… that laws won’t be enforced… but it also makes our citizens and our communities less safe," said NYS Senator Dean Murray, 3rd Senate District.
“Housing migrants in schools is just another crazy idea to come from leftist politicians who do not have real ideas to solve the migrant crisis. My bill will prohibit the City of New York from housing migrants in schools, protect our students and reassure parents that their children will have a safe learning environment. This bill is necessary to combat federal and state policies dealing with the migrant crisis – a crisis created by failed Democrat leadership,” said Deputy Senate Republican Leader Andrew Lanza.
“Mayor Adams planned to move migrants into as many as 20 public school gymnasiums. A school gym might be a last resort to shelter during a hurricane, but it is not a responsible plan to house migrants looking to relocate their lives. I don't think the Mayor or Governor Hochul understand the true responsibility they have volunteered to take on. Outraged parents have every right to speak out against this ill-planned move, with students still attending school for at least another month. The legislation I am introducing will ensure that is not even an option as New York City continues to bus migrants into other communities throughout New York State,” said Senator Alexis Weik.
Last week, the Senate Republican Conference sent a letter to Governor Hochul requesting transparency on the decisions being made around the migrant crisis. They also introduced legislation to:
> Ensure local control by clarifying a local state of emergency supersedes one declared by the Governor when the two are in conflict, and to
> Protect vulnerable populations from being displaced in order to house migrants.
“My Democratic colleagues can continue to bury their heads in the sand, but the migrant crisis here in New York is not going away anytime soon. We need a plan and solutions, and New Yorkers deserve complete transparency,” concluded Senator Ortt.