Mayor Eric Adams recently announced a plan to deal with the migrant crisis by sending up to 100 migrants to college for 12 months. In those 12 months, the migrants will be provided with classes, accommodations, and food at SUNY Sullivan Community College in Loch Sheldrake and The Center for Discovery in Harris.
The project to send the migrants to college will be handled by the newly created Office of Asylum Seeker Operations and will be paid for by the mayor’s office.
“The mayor’s office is giving us money for things like supplies for people to live on, and the dorms and food,” said spokesman Michael Rosen of The Center for Discovery. Rosen said that the program for migrants would launch in the spring and would offer classes in English, American culture, and personal finance. There will also be job training for fields such as healthcare, culinary arts, and farming. “We’re hoping that they would find an interest in that work after the year is up, but they’re free to do whatever they want or go back to the city,” Rosen said.
Eleanor Davis, the dean of communications and admissions at SUNY Sullivan, said discussions regarding this program had been ongoing for sometime, spanning back to when asylum-seeking migrants started arriving in the city. “They’ll be coming up here as students do — to live in our dorms and take, in many cases, one-year credentialing classes and workforce training,” she said. “The Center for Discovery would be bringing in staff and transportation to support this. We are really just working with them on this.”
The exact cost of the project has not been determined however The NY Post reports that SUNY Sullivan charges $12,000 for a full time student paying for tuition fees, room, and board. The project will reportedly likely cost about $1.2 million for the 12 months. If it proves to be a success, the program will likely continue. In the event that the program continues indefinitely, Mayor Adams would want to see private philanthropy involved, according to Rosen.
The program was criticized by Republicans who saw it as a waste of taxpayers money that was funding and legitimizing illegal immigration. “Mayor Adams is making a permanent welfare system for illegal immigrants in New York State,” said Representative Elise Stefanik.
“By spending New Yorkers’ hard-earned taxpayer dollars on college classes for migrants, he is incentivizing and rewarding illegal immigration simply to export the crisis of Democrats’ own making out of New York City,” Stefanik added.
When asked for a comment by The NY Post, a SUNY Sullivan student said, “I think it’s a great way to give a second chance to people who are really down on their luck. I see these people on the news and it’s heartbreaking. They’ve left everything behind but the clothes on their back,” she said. “I think they should all have an opportunity to succeed and become contributing members of society and I think it’s great that SUNY is giving them that opportunity.”