Rockland County Rep. Mike Lawler on Monday said New York City Mayor Eric Adams cannot "dump" migrants in the Hudson Valley region and called the mayor's actions hypocritical.
"New York City chose to be a sanctuary city and so you've had a lot of governors and mayors and small town elected officials shipping migrants up to New York City. And now the city - who has taken in about 60,000 migrants - is at capacity and so, they're deciding to do the very thing that they were decrying just a few months ago," Lawler, a Republican, said during an interview with anchor Pat Kiernan on "Mornings on 1."
Adams announced plans Friday to send up to 300 single, adult men under the city's care – on a volunteer basis – to a hotel in Orangeburg in Rockland County and another in Orange Lake in neighboring Orange County.
Rockland County Executive Ed Day on Saturday announced a state of emergency saying the area is experiencing an "extreme" housing crisis, and more migrants will worsen the situation by "straining support systems that are already at a breaking point."
A state of emergency was also declared at Orange County.
Lawler said that there was no communication from the offices of the mayor and Gov. Kathy Hochul, both Democrats, regarding the proposal.
He said areas like Rockland County do not have the infrastructure nor the capabilities to handle that big of an influx of migrants in need of services.
"This is not about being against immigration. This is about recognizing that this policy does not work. You cannot have a sanctuary city policy and then decry it when you get overwhelmed," Lawler said.
After Kiernan suggested the migrant crisis has become a regional problem, Lawler countered that New York City should not be allowed to make unilateral decisions on the matter.
"If it's a regional problem, then that requires communication and coordination and cooperation. It does not require the mayor of New York City saying, 'I'm just gonna dump them on your doorstep and good luck.' That's total nonsense. That is not how you create a regional situation," he said. "And the failure on the part of the mayor and the governor to work with municipalities on this is shameful, and they should be embarrassed."
Town of Orangetown Supervisor Teresa Kenny agreed, saying Monday that she felt Adams' plan was "a little bit of an ambush."
"If the mayor had taken the time to reach out and say, 'Is there an appropriate location that can house them for more than 30 days, that can get them close to local transportation, that they can get food and the services that they need?' If you come to Orangeburg, that is not it," Kenny said. "It was obviously the first place they could find that was willing to take them and no consideration for the immigrants or the local community."
According to the mayor's office, the city has already taken in more than 60,000 asylum seekers and has spent $1 billion on the migrant crisis, with the costs expected to balloon to over $4 billion by next year.
Adams also faces criticism from advocates for immigrants, who say the plan is a temporary fix.
"Busing people upstate for shelter is only a temporary fix," Murad Awawdeh of the New York Immigration Coalition said in a news release Friday. "They will be out of sight, but it's short-sighted to think that the Mayor can resolve New York City's housing problems in this manner."