POUGHKEEPSIE – On Sunday, members of grassroots organization For the Many, Mid-Hudson Valley DSA, and Councilmember Megan Deichler greeted and applauded asylum seekers arriving at Poughkeepsie’s Red Roof Inn.
This comes after buses of asylum seekers have arrived at hotels across multiple upstate counties. Over the past two weeks, For the Many has welcomed migrants to two hotels in Newburgh. These men have been subject to racist, xenophobic attacks from local elected officials and the media. They were even the subject of a complex scam involving residents of a Poughkeepsie homeless shelter, who were recruited to pose as veterans supposedly displaced by asylum seekers. This scam fooled many elected officials and media outlets while directing death threats and harassment toward migrants.
County Executives for several Hudson Valley counties have issued executive orders seeking to bar hotels from sheltering asylum seekers. On Friday, Dutchess County Executive William O’Neil issued a similar order, saying, “This is not about Christianity. This is also not about humanitarianism. It’s not even political.” This is despite his statement at his swearing-in ceremony that, “I find that my spiritual beliefs and my public service are explicitly intertwined.”
“Yesterday, we stood with Mid-Hudson Valley DSA members and City of Poughkeepsie Councilmember Megan Deichler to welcome the first buses of asylum seekers to Dutchess County,” said For the Many Political Coordinator and Poughkeepsie resident Daniel Atonna. “Unfortunately, Dutchess County Executive William O’Neil decided that there was no more room in the inn, issuing an executive order similar to his counterparts in other counties. We are hopeful that his efforts to close Poughkeepsie’s borders to migrants will not be successful, and will continue to greet asylum seekers seeking to join our communities in the Hudson Valley.”
“It’s shameful that the County Executive calls himself a Christian while spewing hateful rhetoric defending his position to block asylum seekers from coming to Dutchess County,” said City of Poughkeepsie Councilmember Megan Deichler. “The Bible provides plenty of examples of how we should treat the vulnerable, including passages such as, ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ These individuals are going through the legal process to seek asylum from conditions unimaginable to the average American. What we need at this point is empathy and compassion for these human beings and to remind ourselves that most Americans are the descendants of individuals much like these migrants who came to this country in pursuit of better opportunities and to escape persecution.”