As Title 42 expires, Oneida County emergency order prevents hotels or shelters from accepting migrants
Gov. Kathy Hochul issued an executive order Tuesday preparing the state for an increase in asylum seekers with the end of Title 42. But Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente, a Republican, said Wednesday the county does not have the capacity to accept migrants.
Oneida County joins Orange and Rockland counties in declaring an emergency order which would halt any potential plans to relocate migrants to the county.
"An emergency order would prevent any of the hotels or shelters from accepting any of the busloads or any migrants that were being sent up here from New York City or from Albany," Picente said.
Picente said the county uses hotels for families who reside in the county and are in emergency situations who need services and for tourism of people who visit.
"When we do the emergency services thing it's temporary that these people are eligible for," Picente said. "In this case [migrants] are not so what do we do with them? How do you feed them? How do you take care of them? How do you know what their health conditions are? Undocumented means just that. There are a lot of issues here."
As of Wednesday, Picente had not shared what the penalty would be for shelters if they did accept potential buses of migrants.
Picente critiqued the state for not communicating a plan to the counties prior to Tuesday knowing Title 42 was going to expire.
"It's not about being cold-hearted," Picente said. "We are a warm-hearted community, but a problem that has been created on the national level and now on the state level in which nobody has a solution, has made it our problem. I will not accept that on behalf of this county."
Picente said he had not been made aware of any potential plans to send migrants to Oneida County but says his emergency order takes a proactive approach saying every county needs to "be realistic in what they can and can't do."
The state budget includes $1 billion toward supporting the state's asylum seekers.