New York scrambles to handle influx of migrants

New York, May 13 (IANS) Multiple counties in New York State have declared a state of emergency while New York City has suspended shelter rules, ahead of anticipated influx of migrants from the US-Mexico border as Title 42 pandemic restrictions have expired.
Tensions also rise as New York City works to send some migrants to neighbouring counties, reports Xinhua news agency.
On Tuesday, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed an executive order and declared a disaster emergency in the state, allowing the state to mobilize more National Guard members and to quickly react to food and supply needs.
The state would mobilize an additional 500 National Guard members, as around 1,000 National Guardsmen were already deployed.
With some local laws temporarily suspended or modified, the executive order would be effective from May 9 to June 8.
New York City has temporarily suspended some local rules that require the city to provide shelter to asylum seekers, according to an emergency executive order signed by Mayor Eric Adams on Wednesday.
“With over 130 emergency sites and eight humanitarian relief centres already opened, we have reached our limit, and this last week we had to resort to temporarily housing recent arrivals in gyms,” said Fabien Levy, spokesman for the mayor.
Recently, hundreds of migrants were placed in a gym within one former police academy building close to the Gramercy Park in Manhattan, according to local media.
According to New York City officials, the city is now spending around $8 million a day to house more than 37,500 migrants, and 4,200 migrants arrived in the city last week alone.
Texas, which borders Mexico, has sent over 5,700 migrants to New York City through buses, Texas Governor Greg Abbott said on social media Wednesday.
Meanwhile, New York City, long seen as a major sanctuary city for migrants, has started to send migrants to neighbouring counties.
The arrangement, however, triggered outcries and even lawsuits in these counties, although the city committed to pay for the migrants’ hotel rooms and support services there.
So far, New York City has bused around 60 migrants to the Crossroads Hotel in Newburgh of Orange County.
While New York City planned to send around 340 migrants to Armoni Inn & Suites in Orangetown, Rockland County, New York Supreme Court on Thursday granted the county a temporary restraining order prohibiting New York City from proceeding with the plan to turn the hotel into a shelter.
At least four counties in Hudson Valley and upstate New York have declared a state of emergency, including Orange, Rockland, Broome and Schuyler counties, with the aim of preventing local hotels, motels and short-term rental facilities from becoming temporary shelters for asylum seekers.
According to an executive order from Schuyler County on Thursday, no hotel, short-term rental, motel, or owner of a multiple dwelling in the county is permitted to contract or otherwise engage in business with any “foreign municipality” for the purpose of providing housing or accommodations for illegal immigrants, migrants and/or asylum seekers without a license granted by the county.
In March 2020, the Title 42 policy was introduced by the Trump administration, which permitted swift expulsion of migrants during the Covid-19 pandemic.
It expired on Thursday midnight.

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