Forty new asylum seekers arrive in Monroe County, Republican candidate says he would stop the flow

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The Republican candidate for Monroe County Executive criticized the arrival of more asylum seekers in Monroe County.

Wednesday morning, Monroe County said 40 new people seeking asylum in this country — including 22 children, arrived over night. They come from Ecuador, Venezuela and Uzbekistan, a former Soviet state in Asia.

They are living in the Holiday Inn on State Street downtown.

This has become a campaign issue in the race for county executive. Republican Mark Assini called a news conference in front of the Holiday Inn Wednesday and then sat down to talk to us.

In an email, the Adam Bello campaign calls it “political grandstanding” and wrote “Courts have ruled local government can’t ban people from coming to a community.”

This is not the first time Assini has levied this criticism regarding people seeking asylum. Wednesday he said if he were county executive he would stop the families from coming here because we have our own housing crisis.

Mark Assini, Republican candidate for Monroe County Executive: “My thought it simple. There’s an old expression: Charity begins at home. We’re in the middle of a homelessness crisis that we haven’t seen in a lifetime. People are living under bridges, they’re living under vestibules at churches, they’re living in hotels, motels, parks and park benches. We’re housing families from other countries over our own residents. That’s wrong.”

Berkeley Brean, News10NBC: “The State of New York, the County of Monroe, and the City of Rochester already spend millions and millions of dollars trying to help families that are poor. We can’t help families that are trying to come into this country?”

Assini: “What we have right now is a situation where we aren’t helping them. We have people living everywhere and they need housing too.”

Brean: “Where should they go?”

Assini: “I think New York City is the richest city on the planet with the largest hotel and motel industry on earth. They can accommodate folks down there.”

Brean: “If you were in charge, what would you do?”

Assini: “I would stop the flow of migrants from New York City. Genesee County put an emergency order together that does that. I would do the same thing.”

We have some outstanding questions to the county: How many families are here? Do you have a cap and a time limit?

The Bello campaign says the cost of housing families is born by New York City and the state and they haven’t displaced local families.

“County Executive Bello is doing what local leaders do — managing a process that protects Monroe County taxpayers and the people who are housed here,” campaign spokesman JW Cook wrote. “Monroe County has invested millions of Federal American Rescue Plan dollars into underserved communities, a move Mr. Assini has criticized in the past. His hypocrisy on this issue is shameful.”