CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Several asylum seekers in the Capital Region met with investigators from the New York Attorney General’s office over the weekend. It’s part of the State’s investigation into DocGo, the company hired to take care of New York City’s asylum seekers.
Two investigators with the A.G.’s office came to Albany to interview seven asylum seekers this past Sunday afternoon. NEWS10 caught up with the leaders of two area community-based groups that were there, and they shared their take on the investigation.
“The voiceless are going to have a voice. They’re going to be able to tell what has been happening and what they’ve been experiencing since they’ve been here and the Capital District,” said Allies For Justice founder, Maria Pacheco.
The meeting itself was not available to the media, however, Maria Pacheco of Allies for Justice and Greg Sheldon of Eden’s Rose Foundation said the asylees who spoke with the investigators understood the importance of being able to speak freely. Sheldon continued, “The folks in the meeting, the refugees and asylum seekers speaking seem to understand they were speaking for more than just themselves. They understood there’s a lot of fear that goes with reprisal, especially with where they come from. To take a stand to speak their truth to power is a hard thing for anybody to do.”
The asylum seekers did not want to go on camera due to fear of retaliation. “We have some very brave migrants that are speaking up and we also have very many who are very scared because of what they’ve been told in terms of their housing security and winter approaching. So many of them are very scared. We do have some migrants who are taking that in consideration but are still speaking up,” said Pacheco.
The two groups have been working closely with refugees since they arrived nearly six months ago, and both say this is a move in the right direction. “For months we’ve been complaining. For months we’ve been airing different interviews and things where the refugees themselves have been expressing the shortfalls that they’re experiencing in care,” said Sheldon.
“It’s been a long time coming and we just can’t wait for the results of this investigation, in terms of finally bringing accountability and transparency to the Capital Region with these folks,” said Pacheco.
NEWS10 has reached out to the City’s Office of Housing Preservation and Development regarding the DocGo investigation, and we are awaiting that response. However, last month the State’s Office of Temporary Disability Assistance investigated claims made against DocGo. In their findings, it says, “residents at the hotel stated they feel safe and did not have any concerns, they did not feel bullied or intimidated.”