‘Watching this closely,’: Rochester prepares to respond as Title 42 ends

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Border towns and customs agents are preparing for a surge of migrants, as Title 42 comes to an end. It’s a law that let officials bar migrants from entering due to the COVID pandemic.

Migrants have been gathering along the U.S-Mexico border in anticipation of this expiration date.

Governor Kathy Hochul enacted an executive order ahead of the expiration, to deploy resources and money statewide as officials anticipate a possible influx of migrants. New York City is going to be affected the most, and they’re receiving more than $1 billion dollars from the state budget.

It’s too early to tell if and when this situation could make it’s way to Rochester. But, the Rochester region has several refugee organizations, and city leaders are on standby.

Mayor Malik Evans said on Thursday he would be meeting with officials to discuss preparation.

“But again, we will need support from the federal and state government if anything is going to affect Rochester as it relates to Title 42, I want to be very clear about that,” says Evans. “We are not set up to take large influxes of individuals. We are a welcoming city, so we would just need to know anything that might affect Rochester, so we’re watching this very closely.”

Meantime, the governor wants this executive order to provide a, “greater flexibility” for the state, with resources and money towards housing, national guard and legal assistance.

New York State will see an additional 500 national guard members for logistical and operational support at the port authority and shelter sites.

The order also allows the state and localities to quickly purchase necessary supplies and resources, like food and equipment.       

“What our concern is, is that we want to make sure that we know what’s going to happen period,” says Evans. “Information is power, we need to know what’s happening on the ground, how it will affect Rochester. I think it’s too early to say how it will affect Rochester, but we have been monitoring the situation extremely closely.”

A source from a local housing organization tells News10NBC they’re on standby. They said anyone coming up from the border would have to have refugee status, or official humanitarian parole status before formally getting help. Instead, these individuals have migrant or immigrant status.

News10NBC also reached out to the Monroe County Executive’s office for comment, and is awaiting to hear back.

Rochester Refugee Resettlement Services and Refugees Helping Refugees did not immediately respond for comment on this story.