NYC Mayor Adams Sues Over Half of New York Counties to Force Them to Accept Illegal Migrants
FAIR Take | June 2023
In his latest attempt to find housing for illegal aliens pouring into New York City, Mayor Eric Adams’ has now filed a lawsuit against 30 out of 57 of New York’s counties seeking to compel them to accept illegal migrants in their hotels. The counties that are now defendants in this lawsuit include Rockland, Orange, Dutchess, Onondaga, Broome, Cayuga, Chautauqua, Chemung, Cortland, Delaware, Fulton, Genesee, Greene, Herkimer, Madison, Becker, Niagara, Oneida, Orleans, Oswego, Otsego, Putnam, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schohazue, Schuyler, Suffolk, Sullivan, Tioga, Warren, and Wyoming.
The lawsuit stems from Mayor Adams’ attempt to shift the cost of New York City’s sanctuary policies to other counties in New York. As Title 42 expulsion authority was set to expire on May 11, Mayor Adams announced he would soon ship willing migrants to other neighboring New York communities. Adams said the new program “will provide up to four months of temporary shelter outside of New York City to single-adult men seeking asylum who are already in the city’s care.” The program was set to start by sending 300 migrants to two hotels in the small towns of Orange Lake (pop. 9,700) and Orangeburg (pop. 4,600), “with the potential to expand.”
However, Orange County (where these two towns are located) and all of the other counties objected to housing illegal aliens.
Rockland County Executive Ed Day was one of the first county executives to voice strong opposition to Mayor Adams’ plan. “This is absurd and we will not stand for it,” Day said in a statement. “There is nothing humanitarian about a Sanctuary City sending busloads of people to a County that does not have the infrastructure to care for them.” Day noted that while the plan is to house the migrants for four months and secure them work permits, it takes six months for asylum-seekers to even be eligible to apply for work permits under federal law. “There is nothing coordinated about the situation but rather its duplicitous of Mayor Adams to surprise a locality that busloads of migrants are heading to their town,” he said.
Rockland County immediately declared a state of emergency and issued an emergency order prohibiting other municipalities and local hotels from contracting to provide housing or accommodations for migrants without obtaining a special license from the County. (See Complaint, p. 17-20) In its order, Rockland County cited concerns that the number of illegal aliens sent by NYC would significantly increase the number of people in the county in need of government services at all levels of government without New York City providing any assistance to pay for it. It also cited the possibility that these illegal aliens may never leave the Rockland County after New York City ceases to pay for the housing and any services they are currently receiving.
Orange County, Dutchess County, and the other counties followed Rockland County’s lead, all implementing similar measures between May 6 and May 18, 2023. (See Complaint, p. 26) [Since then, pursuant to a lawsuit brought by illegal aliens and the New York chapter of the ACLU, a federal district court, citing “discriminatory motive,’ has barred the Rockland and Orange County orders from being implemented. The court, apparently ignoring the fact that illegal aliens crossing the southern border (including asylum-seekers) are required by federal law to be detained, also said that the executive orders violated the illegal aliens’ right to freely travel within the United States.]
In his lawsuit against the 30 counties, Mayor Adams argues that, because the city and state are “in the midst of a humanitarian crisis,” and because NYC is overwhelmed, the counties that “have sought to wall off their borders” should have their executive and restraining orders annulled and voided by the court. Adams says the counties are essentially blowing out of proportion a temporary measure to house a small number of migrants in hotels outside of NYC at the city’s expense. Ironically, the complaint reads:
[The Counties’ executive orders] were issued without any rational basis to believe that any kind of disaster, catastrophe or true emergency was taking place or about to take place in the relevant jurisdictions. The prospect of a few hundred asylum seekers being located temporarily in a hotel willing to take them-with the City retaining fiscal responsibility, paying for lodging, and providing transportation, meals, and social services—cannot reasonably be described as a “public emergency,” much less a public emergency that imperils public safety.
The Adams administration is further accusing the counties of breaking New York’s social services law regarding sheltering the homeless, discriminating based on immigration status, citizenship, national origin, and denying the illegal aliens their “right to travel.”
Republican members of the New York congressional delegation have come to the defense of the counties and criticized the Adams administration’s lawsuit. Rep. Elise Stefanik pointed out that the mayor of NYC has no jurisdiction over Upstate New York. Rep. Claudia Tenney emphasized that the mayor is “saying you can’t create an executive order because it’s a state of emergency.” However, the “state of emergency is because of the sanctuary policies.”
Others have pointed out that Mayor Adams’ lawsuit irresponsibly downplays any concerns about security or the illegal aliens (“asylum-seekers”) becoming burdens on local resources. The ability of federal agents to vet illegal aliens is limited when there is virtually no information available about crimes committed in home countries, or even crimes committed in the United States for which there has been no warrant issued. Reports of migrant drug abuse or other lawless behavior while in NYC hotels show that these are far from baseless concerns. As one whistleblower revealed, “[e]very day, we find about ten kids alone in their hotel rooms, either drinking or doing drugs. Weapons will be in the room. But we’re not allowed to go in there. We’re not allowed to take anything from them. It’s basically a free-for-all.”
Yet, in a statement announcing the lawsuit, the Mayor outright accused the resisting counties of “xenophobic bigotry.” Clearly, this phrase that was not used in the complaint itself, but was a clear invective that the pro-illegal-alien lobby uses to shut down any opposition to open borders policies.
The Biden Border Crisis – both in its general, nationwide context, and at the local level in New York and elsewhere – is a classic example of bad policies affecting not only their authors and supporters, but all of society. In fact, if Mayor Adams and other pro-mass-migration sanctuary politicians have their way, the authors and beneficiaries of mass migration will be largely shielded while average Americans who oppose open-borders mayhem will end up saddled with much of the cost.
FAIR and other organizations that advocate for common-sense immigration policies have long warned that open-borders policies would result in a massive tidal wave of illegal migration and huge and growing societal and financial burden. Former Acting Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Ken Cuccinelli, who served in the Trump administration, stated in March of 2021, “this is not an accident. During the transition we told them what would happen if they went this route, so it is both predictable and predicted.” And yet now, when the predictions are inevitably being proven true again and again, the Democrats’ “solution” is not to solve the crisis by securing the border or repealing sanctuary city policies, but to simply dump the burden onto the shoulders of ordinary Americans.