Monroe County issues emergency order in response to migrant crisis

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Monroe County Executive Adam Bello is joining ranks with many county leaders across the state in response to the migrant crisis in New York City.

The city has struggled to house migrants from the southern border, relying on facilities such as high school gymnasiums to stop migrants from overwhelming homeless shelters.

Gov. Kathy Hochul recently declared a State Disaster Emergency and said she is exploring every state resource to potentially house migrants and asylum-seekers.

In response, Orleans, Genesee, Wyoming, and other upstate New York counties have issued emergency orders saying they’re unable to take any migrants or asylum seekers because of a housing shortage.

Now, Monroe County is following suit. The county executive issued an executive order on Tuesday preventing any hotel, motel, shelter, or multi-dwelling unit from providing emergency shelter unless a plan is submitted and approved to the county’s Department of Human Services.

With New York City seeing a surge of migrants, Bello also expects a surge locally. He said bringing in busloads of migrants to the community, without a plan to support them, isn’t fair to the people who live here or the migrants who would need housing.

“Monroe County welcomes people from all over the world,” Bello said in a statement. “This Emergency Order does not prevent migrants from coming to Monroe County while they await resolution of their legal asylum application. Rather, it ensures that if migrants need to be housed here, it is done so in a thoughtful way with a reasonable plan in place to protect everyone involved.”

Bello’s opponent for the county executive’s office, Republican Mark Assini, said he’s glad the order was issued but it doesn’t go far enough.

“Just last week, the county executive indicated no migrants were coming to Monroe County. Therefore, he took no action at that time. Something between now and today has changed and it’s simply political pressure,” Assini said.

Assini said the order should have been structured like the one in Genesee County, which allows the county to remove any migrants from the county after 15 days.