This holiday weekend, Albany welcomed about 105 migrants who’d been bused from New York City to the capital.
Mayor Kathy Sheehan made an announcement about the first bus of “approximately 40 asylum seekers” that arrived in the city on Monday.
The Mayor indicated in her statement that the city welcomed the asylum seekers, and that they are staying in the Ramada Inn on Watervliet Avenue in Albany. But she did have criticism about the location New York City’s administration chose 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,” she noted in her statement.
The mayor and her team had expressed concern about the significant number of 911 calls received from the low-cost three-star hotel where the asylum seekers are now staying.
She also said organizations in Albany would work to supply the asylum seekers with food, housing, basic everyday items, and any necessary services. Advocates have in turn commended Albany for welcoming asylum seekers in search of a safe place to live.
Since last spring, New York City has received over 70,000 asylum seekers seeking refuge from violence, economic challenges, and oppression in their home countries, while also pursuing opportunities for asylum and employment. City and state elected officials have considered a wide range of open spaces to house asylum seekers within the city. Running out of options, New York City began to make arrangements for migrants to stay in other cities in New York state. This included Rockland County in downstate New York, where officials rejected the city’s transportation plans.
Meanwhile, the town of Colonie in Albany County sued New York City in Albany Supreme Court over the weekend to stop the city from transporting more migrants, after 24 migrants arrived there at a SureStay Plus Hotel by Best Western outside Albany on Saturday night.
A court hearing on Colonie’s lawsuit will take place on June 9. The Times Union reported that Town Supervisor Peter G. Crummey — a Republican and plaintiff in the lawsuit — sent police to more than 70 hotels and motels over the weekend to distribute copies of the town’s eight-year-old hotel ordinance regulating stays at the facilities.
Last week, Documented also published a report about how asylum seekers have been faring in New York following interviews conducted with more than 50 asylum seekers from more than 10 countries: Venezuela, Ecuador, Haiti, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Senegal, Turkey, Colombia, Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Peru.