Local Groups Condemn Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric

NEWBURGH – Last Thursday, members of grassroots organization For the Many and local elected officials greeted two buses of asylum seekers at Newburgh’s Crossroads Hotel. They were joined by the Workers Justice Center of New York, the New York Civil Liberties Union, Orange County Legislator Genesis Ramos (who represents the City and Town of Newburgh) and City of Newburgh Councilmember Giselle Martinez.

“Today, our members stood with Newburgh elected officials to greet asylum seekers at The Crossroads Hotel,” said For the Many Communications Lead Aaron Narraph Fernando. “But for the past week, what should have been a positive environment for the Hudson Valley’s newest community members has been tarnished by fear-mongering rhetoric from Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus, who has spread misinformation, confusion, and anti-immigrant sentiments. Seeking asylum is a legal right, and migrants must be welcomed with open arms, not distrust and xenophobia. We continue to stand with asylum seekers and will fight for a New York that guarantees housing as a human right, which begins with Governor Hochul and the state legislature passing Good Cause Eviction and the Housing Access Voucher Program.”

Last Thursday, members of grassroots organization For the Many and local elected officials greeted two buses of asylum seekers at Newburgh’s Crossroads Hotel. Photo: Rene Mejia
Last Thursday, members of grassroots organization For the Many and local elected officials greeted two buses of asylum seekers at Newburgh’s Crossroads Hotel. Photo: Rene Mejia

“I am completely against the rhetoric, messaging, and tone set by the County Executive through his order and supposed state of emergency,” said Orange County Legislator Genesis Ramos, who represents the City and Town of Newburgh. “As a proud daughter of Honduran immigrants, I proudly stand by and support asylum seekers of all backgrounds and completely reject any form of xenophobia, racism, prejudice, or violence toward these individuals. We must do better at every level of government to ensure the safety, compassion, and support of these folks.”

“Shame on our County Executive and media outlets that are using hateful and inflammatory rhetoric to paint asylum seekers as ‘invaders,’” said City of Newburgh Councilmember Giselle Martinez. “No human being is illegal. Now is the time to have compassion and welcome folks who have had a difficult journey seeking safety. For a country built by immigrants, we shouldn’t tolerate hate toward new immigrants. We welcome them with open arms.”

“New York State has a rich tradition of welcoming immigrants, and from Buffalo to the east end of Long Island have seen incredible economic and cultural revitalization from the resettlement of refugees to those regions,” said New York Immigration Coalition Executive Director Murad Awawdeh. “We believe that success is still possible, but it requires deliberate planning and a coordinated strategy involving relevant state and municipal government officials, non-profits, and community-based organizations. Working together, our municipal governments – in New York City and the Hudson Valley – and the state can help New York live up to its legacy as a welcoming place for all immigrants. The xenophobia and fear-mongering remarks of some of our electeds who pushed back on welcoming immigrants to the Hudson Valley will do nothing more than put asylum seekers in harm’s way. That is entirely irresponsible and unacceptable of anyone, let alone anyone in a leadership position. We’re grateful to our local members in the Hudson Valley, like For the Many, Community Voices Heard, Workers Justice Center, and so many others, for doing everything they can to uphold New York’s reputation and support our community members in need.”

State Supreme Court Judge Sandra B. Sciortino on Tuesday granted the County’s application for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) which has stopped New York City Mayor Eric Adams for the time being from sending asylum seekers to Orange County.
“New York City should not be establishing a homeless shelter outside of its borders in Orange County,” Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus said. “The city is a self-proclaimed sanctuary city; Orange County is not. We should not have to bear the burden of the immigration crisis that the Federal government and Mayor Adams created, and I will continue to fight for Orange County’s residents in regard to this important manner.”

As modified by the court, the TRO allows the 186 asylum seekers at the Crossroads Hotel and Ramada by Wyndham in the Town of Newburgh to remain in Orange County. However, it prohibits the City of New York from sending any additional asylum seekers to Orange County, pending further submissions from the parties and future determinations by the court. The County learned after the court hearing that New York City was anticipating sending seven busloads of new migrants/asylum seekers to Orange County Tuesday. Because of the Court Order, that will not happen. The parties will be back before the Court on June 21st.

According to Orange County Attorney Richard Golden, if any of the 186 asylum seekers leave the two hotels in the Town of Newburgh, New York City is not allowed to send individuals to replace them. Neuhaus filed two lawsuits on behalf of the County last Friday to stop the City of New York from illegally sending its homeless migrants and/or asylum seekers to the County.

The first lawsuit is against both the Crossroads Hotel and Ramada by Wyndham, both located in the Town of Newburgh. This lawsuit is to stop these hotels from accepting New York City’s homeless migrants and/or asylum seekers in violation of the prior Order and Declaration of Emergency issued by Neuhaus. The second lawsuit against New York City and Mayor Adams is to stop the City from establishing unlicensed and unregulated homeless shelters in Orange County for these migrants and/or asylum seekers. Under State Law, the city is prohibited from setting up homeless shelters outside of the five boroughs in the manner it did last week.

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