Bliss: County Must Regulate, Oversee Any Housing of Migrants

Otsego Issues Executive Order

Bliss: County Must Regulate, Oversee Any Housing of Migrants


On May 16, Otsego County joined the growing list of municipalities that have instituted limitations and conditions on the housing of migrants and asylum seekers entering the United States at its southern border. By adopting the declaration of an emergency set out in New York State’s Executive Order #28, and by issuing its own State of Emergency Declaration, Otsego County officials were empowered to issue Emergency Order #1, regulating the terms under which municipalities within the county could agree to house migrants.

Since Texas, Arizona and Florida began alleviating their own overcrowding by busing migrants to other states, metropolitan areas including New York City have been faced with the realization that housing the influx of migrants is overtaxing their capabilities to render social services. Governor Kathy Hochul, in her Executive Order, noted that New York City was housing more than 36,000 migrants as of May 9, and that this number was increasing with no end in sight. Similarly, Mayor Eric Adams noted New York City is having trouble finding sufficient shelter within the city limits, resulting in having to look for housing in surrounding counties.

The opposition by Rockland and Orange counties to the north, and Suffolk County to the east, was immediate. Some declared a state of emergency and used that authority to block hotels and motels from accepting migrants sent to them by New York City. Other counties actually applied for and were granted judicial restraining orders prohibiting certain lodging places from being converted into homeless shelters.

Otsego County has not, to date, been asked to house migrants.

“But inquiries have already been made to lodging places and municipalities in Broome and Oneida counties, and so the board really had no choice but to deal with the issue so that it could at least regulate and oversee the migrant housing on a county-wide basis,” said David Bliss, chairman of the Otsego County Board of Representatives.

“Otsego County already has an overall housing shortage, and many of our social services are already overtaxed,” Bliss continued, “so it made sense to provide a vehicle to oversee this issue and prevent a further crisis from occurring.”

Bliss noted that he has been on a number of Zoom meetings with the governor, and has been advised that the social services New York City would provide to a migrant will follow that migrant to the substitute destination. For this reason, and to make sure the migrants do not place a further strain on Otsego County’s social services, the Board of Representatives created a mandatory licensing procedure that will govern the ability to convert housing to migrant shelters.

Otsego County Emergency Order #1 designates the Department of Health as gatekeeper of the licensing procedure, since one of the triggers in increasing the number of migrants was the elimination of Title 42, which had previously allowed denial of immigrant entry into the U.S. due to COVID-19 health risks. Prior to granting a license, the DOH is required to determine that an entity such as New York City, seeking to place migrants in lodging located in Otsego County, agrees to provide for return of those migrants to the municipality of origin after 15 days. Furthermore, adequate financial assurances have to be provided to confirm the migrants will be supported during their stay.

“To sum it up,” Bliss said, “the purpose of the exercise is to avoid creating a substantial increase in homelessness in our communities, as well as to avoid having the housing of migrants be an excessive financial burden on the citizens of Otsego County. We must assure that all available state and/or federal funding accompanies any relocations so as not to deplete our already limited resources dedicated to the care of our existing homeless and distressed population.”

The Emergency Order, which would have expired on May 20, was extended for an additional five days, and can continue to be extended during the pendency of the emergency on five-day intervals unless sooner modified, extended or revoked.

The state of emergency within Otsego County continues until June 15 unless earlier rescinded or extended. The monthly meeting of the Board of Representatives scheduled for June 7 will take up the issue of the emergency declaration as well as the resulting emergency order.

3 thoughts on “Bliss: County Must Regulate, Oversee Any Housing of Migrants

  1. Dommy

    An illegal breaks into our country and gets free housing, food and clothes. I am a citizen and have to have pay for my housing, food and clothes. What’s going on, and how long before our country is broke.

  2. john parker

    Resistance to this demonically successful globalist destruction of our culture and traditions, born of radical revolutionary contempt for who we are, must start somewhere. The county must take a stronger stand in OPPOSING by all means this trafficking of unvetted illegal trespassers. This is a catastrophe in the making.

  3. Mary Anne Whelan

    An illegal immigrant is still illegal, and if found to be thus is returned to the Place of origin. The great majority of immigrants are people legitimately seeking refuge from extreme conditions which may include active persecution. With the Biden facilitation of processing legitimate asylum seekers, there has been a great drop in the numbers coming. Trumps’ fictional wall (he built 51 miles, not the several hundred he claimed on tv) and enforced separation of families from their children, did not. All of here have had, at some point, “immigrant” status, remember.

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