Governor Kathy Hochul is under fire for handling New York’s migrant crisis. Critics argue that she has not provided adequate leadership, often deferring to Mayor Eric Adams to decide where asylum-seeking migrants should be resettled in upstate New York, despite opposition from local politicians.
On Tuesday, June 13th while talking to reporters, Hochul argued that she is doing her duty by offering all available state-controlled facilities like SUNY campuses, psychiatric centers, and former prisons for potential resettlement sites.
However, critics argue this approach lacks the necessary planning. According to Assembly Minority Leader William Barclay, there has been a complete absence of “preparation, coordination, and proactivity,” contradicting the notion of effective leadership.
Recently, Hochul withdrew from challenging the authority of Rockland and Orange counties to block migrant arrivals following legal action by the New York Civil Liberties Union.
Despite declaring a state of emergency and securing $1 billion in funding for the city after criticism, opponents argue that Hochul is overly reliant on local officials during crises. They contrast her approach with former Governor Andrew Cuomo’s more proactive stance during his tenure.
Hochul’s plan to address the migrant crisis largely has depended on federal intervention, including increased funding, expedited work authorization for migrants, and permission to use federal sites for housing. However, the likelihood of such assistance arriving in the near future is still being determined.
Local government tensions are increasing in New York, with Rockland launching a legal challenge against the Adams administration. Additionally, the city faces ongoing challenges accommodating a large number of asylum-seeking migrants, with approximately 2,200 arriving in the last week alone. Nearly 50,000 individuals are currently receiving shelter and essential provisions in the city.
Republicans are capitalizing on the uncertainty surrounding the resettlement of migrants to criticize pro-immigrant policies at various levels of government, citing a lack of leadership.
Senate Minority Leader Robert Ortt stated that the role of the governor is to utilize her position to secure additional federal resources and discourage Mayor Adams from transferring migrants to unprepared upstate communities lacking resources. He said, “Leadership would be leveraging your position as governor of the state of New York to get more federal resources. Leadership would be telling the Mayor he can’t just ship migrants to upstate communities that aren’t prepared and don’t have the resources. Leadership would be addressing the so-called sanctuary status that helped cause this crisis.”
Similarly, New York City Council Member Robert Holden criticized Governor Hochul’s handling of the migrant crisis, suggesting that earlier, a more proactive approach could have yielded better results. Holden emphasized the need for increased and timely funding and the governor’s active involvement in finding alternative locations statewide to ease the burden on the city.