National Guard members will arrive Friday to help Rochester’s asylum seekers

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Twenty-seven National Guard members will arrive in Rochester on Friday to help with just over 40 asylum seekers from New York City. They’re still staying at the Holiday Inn on State Street.

Monroe County Executive Adam Bello said the National Guard response is all part of the original plan to keep things in order. He said this is not to be confused with a law enforcement presence. The National Guard members will be assigned to “logistical and operational support” only.

Keeping things safe and under control is part of that. But when asked specifically what they will be doing, Bello’s answer was vague.

He did say they’ll be handing basic duties like meals and helping where needed. He said they’re trained to help out in situations with emergency housing and said it would be “irresponsible” to not ask for their help.

New York City will be paying for the relocation and additional measures of support.

“The one thing I do want to be clear, this is not a police force that’s coming,” he said. “The mission that the National Guard, as the governor described to me, is primarily logistical, operational support, which I think will help with the whole security picture of the hotel.”

There’s no timeline for how long these 27 Guard members will be here.

“This is proactive, and that’s the job of government — New York City is relocating asylum seekers here, my job is to make sure I am providing to the safety and welfare of Monroe County, and people being located here,” he said.

Bello said he’s also working with the Department of Health to ensure necessary testing is done for anyone entering the community.

He said he’s also working to find job opportunities for them.