Niagara, Chautauqua, and other counties declare state of emergency due to migrant crisis

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NEW YORK STATE — More counties in Western New York are issuing emergency orders in response to the migrant and asylum-seeker crisis reaching the state.

Niagara, Chautauqua, and Cattaraugus counties are the latest to declare a state of emergency in addition to Orleans, Genesee, and Wyoming counties. The leaders of those counties say they don’t have the resources or the space to care for and house migrants.

“There’s a growing concern in New York State that these failed policies are now going to be borne on the rest of us and we’re pushing back,” said Chautauqua County Executive Paul Wendel Jr.

State Assembly Member Steve Hawley, who represents parts of Monroe, Genesee, Niagra, and Orleans counties, signed a letter on Friday calling for migrants not to be housed on SUNY campuses. That was an option that New York State was reportedly considering.

News10NBC spoke with Gov. Kathy Hochul during her visit to the PGA Championship on Thursday about the state’s efforts to find housing.

“We’re looking at all locations and we have a challenge here,” Hochul said. “We have over 71,000 people and more are arriving. This is a situation no one asked for but we are dealing with it. I met with Mayor Adams in NYC to talk about other spaces that can be made available as soon as possible. Right now, they’re putting people in school gymnasiums in NYC. We can do better than that.”

New numbers from U.S. Customs and Border Protection show the number of encounters between migrants and authorities has dropped since the end of Title 42 last week.

Customs and Border Protection reports an average of 4,400 encounters per day since May 12. Over the past two days, the number is about 3,000.