Riverhead Supervisor Yvette Aguiar declared a state of emergency on Tuesday, barring facilities in the town from accepting migrants and other asylum seekers, suggesting that the influx of migrants who have flooded New York City in recent months could spread to Long Island.
The state of emergency declaration — an executive order — states that “all hotels, motels, bed and breakfast establishments, inns, cottages, campgrounds, or any other temporary lodging units and/or facilities that permit short-term rentals will not accept the aforementioned immigrants and/or Or asylum seekers seeking housing within the town”.
The statement drew mixed reactions.
Following Tuesday’s announcement in Riverhead, the Suffolk County Supervisors Association, which includes senior officials from the county’s 10 towns, issued a statement Wednesday saying the association “wants it to understand that issues concerning immigrants and their placement in New York State are issues that our federal government The sole responsibility of the officials — the president and both houses of Congress.”
Also on Wednesday, former Riverhead Town Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith sharply criticized the executive order, accusing the current board of directors of “faking up rumored fears of immigrant incursions in an attempt to distract and divide the “There is growing opposition to potential The development of Calverton Enterprise Park.
In a statement accompanying the executive order Tuesday, town officials said that “the health and safety of Riverhead residents remain the primary concern and priority of Superintendent Aguiar,” adding that Riverhead, compared with other counties, cannot “afford further demands.” “Our public service. “
“Relative to surrounding towns in the East End and throughout Suffolk County, Riverhead is doing more than its share in housing, servicing and providing affordable housing for the homeless, and our resources and taxpayers simply cannot afford it. cannot afford further demand on our public services,” the statement said.
Town officials said in a statement that the emergency declaration was based on information that the New York City Department of Homeless Services “has or will arrange for the transportation and relocation of undocumented immigrants and/or asylum seekers to hotels and motels” in Riverhead. town.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams explain In an interview on 1010 WINS radio this week, some 65,000 immigrants and asylum seekers arrived in the five boroughs over the past year, stretching the city’s social services and sheltered housing resources to the limit.
While there are many so-called sanctuary cities across the country, New York City is the only major city in the country that guarantees shelter to anyone who seeks it.
In the executive order, Ms. Aguiar noted that there are currently “an estimated 224 overcrowded apartments or overoccupied homes” in and around Riverhead, as well as “91 illegal apartments … 35 unsafe buildings … two a large, non-temporary homeless shelter … 14 sober homes … and three outdoor homeless encampments.”
The order went on to assert, “There is nothing humanitarian about a sanctuary city sending busloads of people to the countryside. [t]Not having the infrastructure to take care of them themselves, especially since social service funding is not available to undocumented individuals…”
Violation of the executive order is a Class B misdemeanor under Title 24, Section 2-B of the state Administrative Code, punishable by a fine and/or up to 90 days in prison, according to State Attorney Eric Howard.
Ms. Jens-Smith, a Democrat, said the emergency declaration by Ms. Agiuar, a Republican, was legally unnecessary because Riverhead already had legislation limiting temporary housing.
“The current mayor … should have known this was unlikely to happen because our town bylaws already limit temporary housing to thirty days,” Ms. Jans-Smith said in her statement. “Or she does know it can’t happen, but she won’t let that get in the way of using this baseless rumour to distract residents while fueling the fear-based anti-immigration fires she’s using in both countries previous elections.”
“It may be a coincidence that this announcement comes the night before our next town council meeting, which could spark more opposition to warehouses and air cargo ports,” Ms Jens-Smith continued, referring to There are concerns about the development of EPCAL. “Instead of seeking to address the needs of the public, our town councils wish to divert attention from the real threats we face, while taking the position of protectors from the fears these mistakes fuel.”
During a heated exchange at a town council meeting Wednesday night, South Jamesport’s Angela DeVito said she was “a bit shocked” by the declaration of a state of emergency.
“There really is no solid evidence to support such drastic action,” she said. “Where is the verifiable information on the imminent threat to the town of Riverhead?”
Councilor Tim Hubbard responded: “I’m not sure there’s verifiable information. This move is a proactive one. Instead of waiting for it to happen and then standing there trying to figure it out, we’re being proactive and we don’t want this This kind of thing is happening in our town. There is no room in our infrastructure.”