40 migrants from NYC arrive in Albany; upstate officials battle busing program in courts

Tribune Content Agency

NEW YORK — A bus carrying about 40 asylum seekers from New York City arrived in Albany on Sunday evening, the mayor of the capital city said Monday.

The trip appeared more orderly than New York City’s attempted migrant transports to other upstate municipalities, which have brought fierce resistance and court challenges.

Albany’s mayor, Kathy Sheehan, said her city welcomed the arrivals. But she seemed to quibble with the Adams administration’s hotel selection for the migrants.

“While we suggested several other hotels within the City of Albany, New York City has decided to contract with the Ramada Inn on Watervliet Avenue in Albany,” Sheehan, a Democrat, said in a statement.

She pledged that Albany’s community partners would “work to ensure New York City provides these asylum seekers with food, shelter, everyday necessities, and the services they may need.”

The Ramada, a low-cost three-star hotel, is located in Albany’s West End neighborhood, next to Interstate 90 and about three miles from downtown.

A manager at the hotel did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.

Sheehan’s chief of staff, David Galin, said Albany officials were concerned about the high volume of 911 calls that the hotel draws, noting that the asylum seekers are “coming from a really traumatic experience.”

“We’re excited to welcome them in the city,” Galin said by phone, adding of the hotel selection: “It is what is.”

For a year, New York City has been strained by waves of migration unleashed by political upheaval in Central and South America.

The city, which has struggled to handle the influx, has welcomed more than 70,000 migrants since last spring, according to the Adams administration.

More than 45,000 remained in the city’s care as of last week, said Fabien Levy, a spokesman for Mayor Eric Adams.

“Every day, we receive hundreds of additional asylum seekers and we are out of space,” Levy said in a statement. “New York City has done and will continue to do its part, but we need counties, cities, and towns across the state to do their part as well.”

“In most areas, we’re not even asking localities to help manage one-quarter of 1% of the asylum seekers that have arrived in New York City,” he added.

Responding to the migrant influx, New York City has opened more than 150 shelter sites and helped the asylum seekers travel to far-off locations, including Canada.

This month, the city sparked outrage among parents by placing migrants, briefly, in a school gym in Coney Island, Brooklyn.

In its bids to bus asylum seekers north of the five boroughs, the city has promised to cover food and shelter costs, but has still met with staunch resistance from upstate officials.

The Hudson Valley counties of Rockland and Orange filed lawsuits earlier this month to prevent the city from sending migrants to their communities.

On Saturday night, 24 migrants from New York City arrived at a SureStay Plus Hotel by Best Western outside Albany, in the town of Colonie, said Town Supervisor Peter Crummey.

Colonie sued New York City in Albany Supreme Court over the weekend to halt the city from transporting any more migrants.

In court papers, Colonie said it had been unable to coordinate “services that individuals may require, the assistance they may need and the potential emergency responses that the Town will have to bear.”

Crummey also laced into Adams in a separate statement, saying that the SureStay Plus Hotel has been a “hot bed of police activity,” and charging that the New York City mayor “pays no heed for the welfare of the persons subjected to his forced bussing catastrophe.”

Colonie’s lawsuit apparently worked, at least for now. Crummey said in an email Monday that Justice Gerald Connolly of New York State Supreme Court had issued an order a day earlier barring any more transports to Colonie until a court hearing June 9.


(With Chris Sommerfeldt and Cayla Bamberger.)