MONTICELLO – After hearing questions and concerns from constituents and legislators, Sullivan County officials Friday met with officials from SUNY Sullivan and The Center for Discovery regarding New York City’s plan to train and house up to 100 people seeking asylum in the United States.
“We’re tentatively optimistic regarding a positive result for those involved. We’ve been in close contact with the College and the Center before and after New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced his ‘Road Forward’ initiative, of which this plan is a part,” noted Sullivan County Legislature Chairman Robert A. Doherty. “They have assured us that those participating in this program will be vetted carefully – including by the FBI – and are already registered with U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Services, engaged in the process of seeking asylum.”
According to Center and College officials, only single adults will be eligible for this program, with preference given to those who have already completed post-secondary courses and/or worked in healthcare and human services. Those accepted into the program will have completed their background checks and be on file with the Federal government as seeking asylum in the U.S.
“Considering the vulnerable population they serve, the Center is keenly involved in ensuring the people who are being trained will not compromise the safety of their residents or the integrity of their programs,” said Sullivan County Manager Joshua Potosek. “Neither will these adult students be seeking social services locally. And since the City and other outside agencies will be paying for their lodging, meals and education, I anticipate no cost to local taxpayers.”
Students will continue to be considered NYC residents for the duration of their time at SUNY Sullivan. Some will be Ukrainian refugees fleeing the perils of their war-torn nation; others, escaping potentially life-threatening conditions in their home countries.
“I shared my concerns and thoughts about the sensitivity and challenges of this plan with the leaders of the College and the Center, prompting productive conversations that will continue and should lead to a net win for all involved,” concluded Doherty. “SUNY Sullivan will have paid-in-full students in its dorms and classrooms, The Center for Discovery will gain talented and qualified people to assist their clients, the asylum-seekers will be afforded a safer and brighter future, and our residents, workers and college students will not be displaced, endangered or burdened.”