While New York City grapples with the termination of Title 42, Mayor Eric Adams, who has feuded with President Joe Biden over the border crisis, reportedly arranged to shuttle migrants to eastern Long Island only to be stonewalled by Republicans.
Democrats of the so-called sanctuary city have tried to ship migrants to the two counties of Long Island before, particularly unaccompanied minors, with Suffolk County being ranked sixth in the nation in 2021 for its accumulated share.
On May 16, Riverhead Township Supervisor Yvette Aguiar declared a state of emergency after Adams reportedly issued a request for housing facilities in Suffolk to house the migrants. Adams added that the city would pay for up to a year of housing.
Aguiar said three Riverhead facilities have agreed. She said she did not know which facilities agreed, but that housing migrants was a code violation. Officials said the New York City Department of Homeless Services was making agreements on the relocation of migrants to hotels and motels within the town.
Aguiar then told the outlet she wrote an executive order to prevent the heavy influx.
“Relative to the surrounding townships on the East End and throughout Suffolk County, Riverhead has done more than its share when it comes to housing the homeless, providing services and officering affordable housing, and our resources and taxpayers simply cannot withstand further demand on our public services,” read the order.
“It’s a federal problem, it’s a New York City problem, and don’t bring it to Suffolk County. We are not capable,” Aguiar told CBS News.
Riverhead’s state of emergency under executive order maintains that “all hotels, motels, bed and breakfast facilities, inns, cottages, campgrounds or any other transient lodging units and/or facilities allowing short term rentals do not accept said migrants and/or asylum seekers for housing.” Violation of the order will result in a class B misdemeanor, which is punishable with minor fines and/or 90 days imprisonment.
Aguiar, a Republican, received sharp criticism for the move from local Democrats, who appear far removed from the reality of the migrant crisis. Former Riverhead Township Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith said the executive order is intended to “distract and divide,” “cooking up rumor-based fears about an immigrant invasion.”
Shortly before the transport debacle, Adams told 1010 WINS that approximately 65,000 migrants arrived in the five boroughs in the past year. New York City is touted as the only major municipality guaranteeing shelter to anyone. Now the mayor says the city has reached its breaking point.
On Friday, Adams announced the arrival of 900 migrants in the city in one day. He went on to stress that the surge would cost over $4 billion. While appearing on Caribbean Power Jam Radio, he stated that an average of 300 to 500 migrants arrive daily.
“The federal government has now created this crisis, and it’s really undermining our whole city. That’s what I needed New Yorkers to understand,” he said. “This is undermining all of the progress we have made because of the failure of our federal government.”
Make The Road New York, an immigration advocacy nonprofit, said in 2023 alone, several hundred had been sent to Long Island, where they receive benefits. Yaritza Mendez, co-director of organizing at Make the Road New York in Brentwood, told News12 she has been “seeing this trend for many months already here on Long Island and New York City.”
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, a Democrat, denied any talks with the city’s mayor. He told News12 this is a federal issue and that the county needs to treat this in a “responsible and humane way.”
Rep. Nick LaLota, R-N.Y., touted Aguiar’s move on Twitter, saying, “Long Islanders shouldn’t have to bear the weight of the mess at the border created by the Biden Administration or the sanctuary city policies of NYC.”
The congressman representing the Republican-leaning district that includes Riverhead added, “We’re a compassionate nation, one w/ rules & laws that no one is above. Those who come illegally or who manipulate asylum laws shouldn’t displace law-abiding taxpayers for government services…”
On Sunday, the Suffolk Legislature announced plans to prevent migrants from entering the county. Presiding Officer Kevin McCaffrey, R-Lindenhurst, told News12 he would “authorize the hiring of a special counsel to pursue all legal options available to protect the unfunded location of any asylum seekers in Suffolk County.”
This article has been corrected.