ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)—In a recent letter to the Governor, Catalina Cruz and Johnathan Rivera, two Assembly Democrats call on Hochul to use all SUNY dorms Statewide to provide shelter for migrants during the summer months.
“We are looking at about 50,000 dormitory units that can house about 100,000 people for the next couple of months,” said Assemblymember Cruz.
Cruz said this would help in the meantime while a permanent solution is found.
However, Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt has a different opinion. His conference recently introduced a bill that would prevent SUNY from housing migrants.
“Anyway you slice it, this is going to be disruptive to campus life,” said Ortt. “There are summer programs, there are summer programs, there are summer classes, there are students who do not leave these colleges in the summer time. It’s not as if these campuses are completely a ghost town.”
Instead, he would like migrants to be housed at convention centers in New York City— similar to what happened during the pandemic. He shared this in a letter to the governor on Thursday.
“I think that’s a better option,” said Ortt. “It’s less disruptive to the communities that are going to take these migrants. It’s less disruptive to the migrants already in the city. You already have a blueprint before you start moving them all over the place.”
“As long as they are set up in a way that provides the necessities, that provides a dignified roof, it’s a possibility,” said Cruz. “Back when this all began, we urged the governor to use Javits Center as a possibility to house folks because it’s a huge space.”
On Wednesday, the Governor’s Office said, “Governor Hochul directed her administration to assess all possible state sites that could be used to provide shelter for asylum seekers. There are multiple sites under consideration, including SUNY and CUNY campuses, and no final decisions have been made.”
Currently, 36 counties have declared a state of emergency over the migrant crisis, according to the New York State Association of Counties.