Lawsuit By NYC Against 30 NY State Counties For Walling Off Their Borders To Asylum Seekers With EOs, Forcing City To Do More Than Their Share

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City of New York to sue 30 New York Counties for Illegally Walling off Their Borders to Asylum Seekers

New York City Seeks to Invalidate Unlawful Executive Orders Seeking to Prohibit City from Providing Temporary Housing to Small Number of Asylum Seekers During Statewide Emergency

NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York City Corporation Counsel Sylvia O. Hinds-Radix announced that the City of New York is filing suit against more than 30 New York localities that issued unlawful emergency executive orders (EO) intended to prohibit New York City from arranging for even a small number of asylum seekers to stay in private hotels within their jurisdictions — at the City of New York’s expense — amidst a major humanitarian crisis and statewide emergency. New York City has had more than 74,000 asylum seekers ask for shelter since last spring and has opened up more than 160 sites to handle the influx of migrants. While many elected officials, community groups, and faith institutions have worked to welcome the small number of arrivals in each locality — in most cases less than ¼ of one percent — at least 30 local jurisdictions across the state have filed EOs to wall out asylum seekers. In today’s suit, New York City is asking the court to declare each of these EOs null and void and to stop the counties from taking any steps to enforce them any longer.

“Since this crisis began, New York City has — virtually on its own — stepped up to provide shelter, food, clothing, and other services to asylum seekers arriving in our city. We are doing our part and will continue to do our part, but we need every locality across the state to do their part as well,” said Mayor Adams. “We have repeatedly sounded the alarm that our shelter system is at capacity and that we are out of space. While many communities have been overwhelmingly supportive and enthusiastic about welcoming these new arrivals to their cities and towns, some elected officials have attempted to build metaphorical walls around their localities with unlawful executive orders. This lawsuit aims to put an end to this xenophobic bigotry and ensure our state acts as one as we work together to manage this humanitarian crisis fairly and humanely, as we have done from the beginning and as we will continue to do.”

“The relatively low number of individuals lawfully placed in these upstate jurisdictions reflect a small but significant step that will assist the City of New York in handling this growing humanitarian crisis,” said Corporation Counsel Hinds-Radix. “These counties have attempted to close their doors instead of lending their assistance to New York City’s reasonable and lawful efforts to address this crisis. We are asking the court to declare these executive orders null and void, in order to provide asylum seekers shelter during these unprecedented times.”


Since April 2022, large numbers of individuals and families seeking asylum in the United States have arrived and then were sent to New York City as they seek temporary housing assistance. Many entered the United States at the southern border and were bused, flown, or transported by other means to the five boroughs, even though they have no friends or family in the area and no resources of their own. The large number of arrivals has strained the City of New York’s capacity to provide a temporary place to stay for those who need it.

In response to this emergency, New York City has embarked on a herculean effort to provide temporary shelter to those in need who are found in its jurisdiction. As of June 4, 2023, more than 74,000 asylum seekers had arrived within the five boroughs seeking shelter, and currently, more than 47,200 asylum seekers remained in shelter provided by the City of New York, with hundreds more arriving every day. Over the last year, New York City has opened up more than 160 emergency sites to provide temporary shelter or respite to asylum seekers. The number of intakes per day across the City of New York’s different intake systems has surged from 200-300 to as many as 600-900 individuals in some weeks in May. The City of New York is constantly searching for additional locations for temporary shelter and has reviewed more than 3,000 locations for possible shelter.

The crisis has already moved beyond the bounds of New York City: On May 9, 2023, New York Governor Kathy Hochul declared a statewide emergency, recognizing the burden imposed on the entire state as it handles an unprecedented numbers of asylum seekers. The executive order acknowledged that there is “already a large-scale humanitarian crisis and emergency,” which the governor expected to worsen in the coming days.

As a part of its massive response, the City of New York has sought to utilize hotel rooms outside of the five boroughs to provide temporary housing assistance for a small number of asylum seekers, with New York City covering the cost of those hotels and of providing services to the individuals, as authorized by state law and regulation.

According to today’s suit, the more than 30 localities listed as defendants implemented executive orders prohibiting hotels, all private businesses, in their jurisdictions from providing temporary housing assistance to asylum seekers and/or working voluntarily with “foreign” municipalities — including New York City — to do so. Rockland and Orange counties were the first to issue EOs to keep asylum seekers out, and the two counties followed their orders by suing to prevent New York City from using available hotel rooms to temporarily shelter asylum seekers. The City of New York’s lawsuit alleges that all of these EOs are premised on baseless claims of a “public safety” emergency arising from the prospect of a small number of asylum seekers temporarily being provided with available hotel rooms in these jurisdictions at New York City’s expense. The lawsuit also alleges that the executive orders are an unlawful attempt to prevent New York City from responding to a statewide emergency and humanitarian crisis, as recognized by Governor Hochul in her executive order.

The City of New York is asking the court to declare all the executive orders null and void and to enjoin the counties from taking any steps to enforce them.

The following is the list of counties that are named in the suit:


COUNTY OF ROCKLAND, New York; EDWIN J. DAY, in his official capacity as County Executive of Rockland County; COI-INTY OF ORANGE, New York; STEVEN M. NEUHAUS, in his official capacity as County Executive of Orange County; COUNTY OF DUTCHESS, New York; WILLIAM F. X. O’NEIL, in his official capacity as Acting County Executive of Dutchess County; COUNTY OF ONONDAGA, New York; J. RYAN MCMAHON, II, in his official capacity as County Executive of Onondaga County; COUNTY OF BROOME, New York; JASON T. GARNAR, in his official capacity as County Executive of Broome County; COUNTY OF CAYUGA, New York; DAVID S. GOULD, in his official capacity as Legislature Chairman of Cayuga County; COUNTY OF CHAUTAUQUA, New York; PAUL M. WENDEL, JR., in his official capacity as County Executive of Chautauqua County; COUNTY OF CHEMUNG, New York; CHRISTOPHER J. MOSS, in his official capacity as County Executive of Chemung County; COUNTY OF CORTLAND, New York; KEVIN J. FITCH, in his official capacity as Legislature Chair of Cortland County; COUNTY OF DELAWARE, New York; TINA MOLE, in her official capacity as Chair of the Board of Supervisors of Delaware County; COTINTY OF FULTON, New York; SCOTT HORTON, in his ofhcial capacity as Chairman of the Board of Supervisors of Fulton County; COTINTY OF GENESEE, New York; L. MATTHEW LANDERS, in his official capacity as County Manager of Genesee County; COUNTY OF GREENE, New York; PATRICK S. LINGER, in his official capacity as Legislature Chair of Greene County; COUNTY OF HERKIMER, New York; VINCENT J. BONO, in his official capacity as Legislature Chair of Herkimer County; COLTNTY OF MADISON, New York; JOHN M. BECKER, in his official capacity as Chairman of the Board of Supervisors of Madison County; COUNTY OF NIAGARA, New York; REBECCA WYDYSH, in her official capacity as Legislature Chair of Niagara County; COUNTY OF ONEIDA, New York; ANTHONY J. PICENTE, JR., in his official capacity as County Executive of Oneida County; COUNTY OF ORLEANS, New York; LYNNE M. JOHNSON, in her official capacity as Chair of the County Legislature of Orleans County; COUNTY OF OSWEGO, New York; JAMES WEATHERUP, VERIFIED PETITION AND COMPLAINT Index No in his official capacity as Legislature Chairman of Oswego County; COTINTY OF OTSEGO, New York; DAVID BLISS, in his official capacity as Chairman of the Board of Representatives of Otsego County; COI-INTY OF PUTNAM, New York; KEVIN M. BYRNE, in his official capacity as County Executive of Putnam County; COUNTY OF RENSSELAER, New York; STEVEN F. MCLAUGHLIN, in his official capacity as County Executive of Rensselaer County; TOWN OF RIVERHEAD, New York; YVETTE M. AGUIAR, in her official capacity as Town Supervisor of the Town of Riverhead; COUNTY OF SARATOGA, New York; THEODORE T. KUSNIERZ, JR., in his official capacity as Chairman of the Board of Supervisors of Saratoga County; COUNTY OF SCHOHAzuE, New York; WILLIAM A. FEDERICE, in his official capacity as Chairman of the Board of Supervisors of Schoharie County; COI-INTY OF SCHUYLER, New York; CARL H. BLOWERS, in his official capacity as Chair of the County Legislature of Schuyler County; COUNTY OF SUFFOLK, New York; STEVEN BELLONE, in his ofhcial capacity as County Executive of Suffolk County; COUNTY OF SULLIVAN, New York; JOSHUA A. POTOSEK, in his official capacity as County Manager of Sullivan County; COUNTY OF TIOGA, New York; MARTHA C. SAUERBREY, in her official capacity as Chairwoman of the County Legislature of Tioga County; COUNTY OF WARREN, New York; KEVIN B. GERAGHTY, in his official capacity as Chairman of the Board of Supervisors of Warren County; COIJNTY OF WYOMING, New York; REBECCA J. RYAN, in her official capacity as Chairwoman of the Board of Supervisors of Wyoming County; and JOHN OR JANE DOE COLINTIES and their respective JOHN OR JANE DOE COUNTY EXECUTIVES, in their official capacity,

Banner Image: NYC – Battery Park: “The Immigrants”. Image Credit – Wally Gobetz licensed by CC


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