Putnam County Executive Kevin Byrne, a Republican, said on Monday, May 22 that he had executed and filed a State of Emergency in relation to New York City's "recent moves to relocate asylum seekers to Hudson Valley counties without proper coordination with local municipalities," he said in a statement released by county officials.
Byrne also said he enacted three executive orders that would "give the county the ability to preserve residents’ rights, protect their well-being, and enforce county established laws and codes, in the wake of what has clearly become a disorganized, muddy operation by New York City officials," he said.
The orders come after two buses of migrants arrived at a Red Roof Inn in Poughkeepsie on Sunday, May 21 following a similar State of Emergency declaration from Dutchess County Executive William O’Neil on Friday, May 19.
So far, the executives of Dutchess, Orange, and Rockland counties have declared states of emergency in response to New York City sending migrants north.
Byrne said that his three orders would:
- Afford the county the flexibility to re-direct county resources to enforce sanitary code;
- Direct hotels, motels, and those with temporary residency permits to not accept migrants and asylum seekers from New York City without a shared services agreement with the county;
- Define Putnam as a "rule of law" county instead of a "sanctuary county."
Byrne added that it would be important to define Putnam as a "rule of law" county because many municipalities with a “sanctuary” designation have begun housing asylum seekers.
The "rule of law" designation also recommits the county’s law enforcement relationship with federal immigration enforcement agencies in addition to its support of the US Constitution, New York State Constitution, County Charter, and other laws, county officials said.
The State of Emergency declaration and executive orders will expire after 30 days without any extension.
In addition to these measures, Byrne also sent a letter to the county's hotels, motels, and temporary residencies asking for "cooperation and transparency" in the event that they have received communications from NYC officials regarding rooms for migrants and asylum seekers.
Byrne said that NYC's "poorly planned operations" have "set the stage to overburden and place significant hardship on communities in the Hudson Valley and further upstate."
"Several of our neighboring municipalities, governed by both Democrat and Republican officials, have justifiably taken pre-emptive action to protect their communities," Byrne added, also saying, "We’ve put an incredible amount of thought into this decision and considering numerous internal reports of the city's lack of transparency and cooperation with local municipalities, we will not wait any longer to act.”
Byrne also blamed a lack of action from the federal government regarding the situation.
"The President’s refusal to take ownership of this crisis and take corrective actions to secure our nation’s southern border and fix the asylum-seeking process leaves New York City and its surrounding communities in a mess," he said.
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