ALBANY, N.Y. (WIVB) — The influx of asylum-seeking migrants into New York has put a strain on state resources. In a new letter, counsel representing New York’s Governor, Kathy Hochul, is particularly critical of New York City’s handling of the situation.

On Tuesday, Faith Gay, a partner with the law firm representing Hochul, issued the letter via email to NYC’s 81st Corporation Counsel, Sylvia Hinds-Radix.

Noting how much the state has contributed to NYC, counsel representing Hochul essentially says that NYC, led by Mayor Eric Adams, can do better.

The following are excerpts from the letter:

  • “The Governor has declared a State Disaster Emergency and issued an Executive Order to support the City’s need for legal and regulatory flexibility.”
  • “The State has directed significant State funds to the City.”
  • “The State has made numerous State-owned properties available for the City to house migrants.”
  • “The State has deployed (as of now) 1,840 National Guard members to staff the shelters (and expects to deploy at least 100 additional members this week).”
  • “The State has provided other staff and technical assistance to the City.”
  • “The State has coordinated with counties and local officials to facilitate the short-term housing of migrants outside of the City.”
  • “And the State has advocated for the federal government to assist the City in managing the significant influx of migrants.”

In the letter, Hochul’s counsel says that it’s expected of the city to take full advantage of the space and resources offered by the state. An example of this not happening, according to the letter, is the allowance of “hundreds of migrants to sleep on the street outside the Roosevelt Hotel despite there being hundreds of vacant beds in the City’s shelter system.”

“The City has not made timely requests for regulatory changes, has not always promptly shared necessary information with the State, has not implemented programs in a timely manner, and has not consulted the State before taking certain actions,” an excerpt from the letter reads. “While Governor Hochul and Acting Commissioner Guinn appreciate Mayor Adams’s public acknowledgment of the State’s significant role in the crisis response, the City can and should do more to act in a proactive and collaborative manner with the State.”

Nonetheless, the state plans to continue providing significant assistance to NYC, according to the letter, calling the level of assistance “unprecedented.”

“The State is actively working towards the day when the new migrant population can contribute to the State’s economy and achieve self-sufficiency through asylum status and work
authorization,” the letter reads.

You can read the letter in its entirety below:

Fabien Levy, NYC’s Deputy Mayor of Communications, issued the following response to the letter:

“While we review the state’s letter, we’re encouraged to see our partners in Albany want to deeply engage on this crisis and take a more proactive role in their response. The city has already spent more than $1.7 billion and expects to spend $5 billion this fiscal year if we do not get the proper support. We appreciate the state offering space on the parking lot of the Creedmoor Psychiatric Facility, which opened yesterday, and for the funding they’ve promised. But because this is such a significant crisis, we need more, including more space around the state and a statewide order that bars localities from passing ordinances that prevent asylum seekers from being relocated to other parts of New York State. New York City represents five hundredths of one percent of the state’s land area, yet, since last spring, we’ve managed to provide shelter and services to more than 100,000 asylum seekers — more people than live in the entirety of Albany — and open up over 200 emergency sites to provide shelter. Thousands of city employees and hundreds of volunteers and community-based organizations have performed miracles to offer food, shelter, and care to the largest concentrated influx of asylum seekers this city has ever seen, but while our compassion is limitless, our resources are not. This is a state and national crisis, and we need more of this kind of partnership from our state and national partners.”

Deputy Mayor of Communications Fabien Levy

Western New York has been directly impacted by asylum seekers brought to NYC, as dozens have come here from there, and are currently being housed in Cheektowaga. The first arrivals came this past June.

It has been a controversial issue in Erie County, with many Republican politicians criticizing the decision to allow the housing of asylum seekers here, especially in the wake of two recent arrests pertaining to alleged sexual assaults.

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Evan Anstey is an Associated Press Award, JANY Award and Emmy-nominated digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.