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NY Republicans urge for special session for state asylum seeker crisis

Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay (R-Pulaski) is calling for a special session to address the state's asylum seeker crisis.
Ava Pukatch
Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay (R-Pulaski) is calling for a special session to address the state's asylum seeker crisis.

New York Republicans are urging for a special session to address the state's asylum seeker crisis.

Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay (R-Pulaski) said he knows the asylum seeker crisis can't be solved completely by legislators at the state level but said this is not a time to remain static.

"I think we can agree on this, both from the Republican perspective and from the Democrat perspective, this is a crisis," Barclay said.

Barclay wants a special session convened by Gov. Kathy Hochul. He mentioned Assembly Republicans have introduced legislation that would have the state Comptroller audit all state and federal funds appropriated for humanitarian aid in New York City or any municipality. He also said counties should be able to opt out of the right to shelter.

"I don't think it's unreasonable to ask that migrants coming into the state have to register with the state," Barclay said. "As I mentioned, the sanctuary policy we ought to end that, we ought to cooperate with ICE, particularly from a public safety standpoint. So if someone does commit some sort of crime, that they can turn them over to ICE and rightfully have those people deported."

Republican Rep. Brandon Williams (R-Sennett) said the Republican Congress acted on the issue by passing the Secure the Border Act. Williams said he expects the issue will be brought up with Congress back in session.

Barclay also called for securing the border and for hearings for people seeking asylum to be sped up.

"Some of this stuff, particularly for the people that are here, is going to require money," Barclay said. "I don't think that's a solution, but certainly we can't bear this burden on our own. I would like to see federal dollars to assist New York and the localities in trying to deal with this problem."

Hochul, asked last week about the potential of a special session, said she's exploring all options at the state level.

WRVO received a statement from Speaker Carl Heastie in response to a request for comment.

"Speaker Kevin McCarthy and his Republican colleagues have refused to act on this federal crisis," Heastie's statement said. "They have used this as a political football to kick around rather than provide assistance to asylum seekers and impacted communities. I have been speaking about this issue with my colleagues in Congress and the White House since this started when Republican governors began busing people to cities across the country."

Ava Pukatch joined the WRVO news team in September 2022. She previously reported for WCHL in Chapel Hill, NC and earned a degree in Journalism and Media from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At UNC, Ava was a Stembler Scholar and a reporter and producer for the award-winning UNC Hussman broadcast Carolina Connection. In her free time, Ava enjoys theatre, coffee and cheering on Tar Heel sports. Find her on Twitter @apukatch.