Ortt, Senate Republicans want accounting of state funds spent on migrants

Posted 22 May 2023 at 3:55 pm

Provided photo: NY State Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt and members of the Senate Republican Conference speak in Albany today, seeking an report on the state expenses thus far in responding to the influx of migrants.

Press Release, NY State Senate Republican Leader Robert Ortt

ALBANY – Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt, along with members of the Senate Republican Conference, today requested a full, transparent accounting of taxpayer dollars being spent on the ongoing migrant crisis, and introduced several pieces of legislation in response to the crisis.

In a letter to State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, members of the Senate Republican Conference requested a full accounting of taxpayer dollars being used by the state to respond to the migrant crisis. In an effort to keep the public informed, they requested that every dollar spent be updated and made public by the Comptroller’s office, similar to the way Covid funding was tracked throughout the pandemic on the agency’s website.

“The handling of this crisis has been a failure of leadership from Democrats on the state and federal level,” Ortt said. “It’s been exacerbated by a complete lack of transparency and communication. With $1 billion or more of taxpayer money being used, the public deserves a full and accurate accounting of exactly what those funds are being used for and who is receiving them.”

The State Budget adopted earlier this month included $1 billion for reimbursement of 29 percent of the costs related to the migrant crisis for New York City as follows: $741 million for shelter costs $162 million for the National Guard, $137 million for health care, $26 million in public assistance and $25 million for relocation of families to permanent housing.

“While New York City has chosen to be a sanctuary city and has been more than willing to accept the influx of migrants from the southern border crisis, few other municipalities in the State have made such designation. As such, the rest of the State should not be subjected to the inability of New York City to provide care to these individuals,” the Senators wrote.

The Senators also announced several new pieces of legislation will be introduced to address the crisis, including bills that would:

  • Prohibit the housing of migrants on SUNY campuses (STEC);
  • Prohibit the housing of migrants in K-12 schools in New York City (LANZA);
  • Prohibit the housing of migrants in K-12 schools throughout the state (WEIK); and
  • Institute the New Yorkers Combating Alien Recidivism and Ending Sanctuary (NY CARES) Act, prohibits local governments and entities thereof, including sheriffs’ departments, municipal police departments and district attorney’s offices, from adopting laws or policies which impede or interfere with the enforcement of federal immigration laws. S.6964 (Senator Dean Murray)

“When Democrats rushed to declare New York a sanctuary city, they ignored the financial costs and consequences of their actions. Despite receiving $1 billion in aid in the state budget to manage this self-inflicted crisis, Mayor Eric Adams and Governor Hochul are instead looking to pass costs and responsibilities onto upstate communities and SUNY campuses that lack the infrastructure and financial resources to handle this issue. This is absolutely unacceptable and I’m proud to join my Senate Republican colleagues in taking action to ensure our region’s taxpayers aren’t responsible for the mayor and governor’s costly political grandstanding,” said Senator Dan Stec of the North Country.

Last week, the Senate Republican Conference sent a letter to Governor Hochul requesting transparency on the decisions being made around the migrant crisis. They also introduced legislation to:

  • Ensure local control by clarifying a local state of emergency supersedes one declared by the Governor when the two are in conflict, and to
  • Protect vulnerable populations from being displaced in order to house migrants.

“My Democratic colleagues can continue to bury their heads in the sand, but the migrant crisis here in New York is not going away anytime soon. We need a plan and solutions, and New Yorkers deserve complete transparency,” Ortt said.