U.S. Rep. Nick Langworthy is opposed to any efforts by New York City officials and contractors to place migrants in Chautauqua County while the county’s emergency order remains in effect.
As reported this week, several local area property owners and property managers have been approached to house New York City refugees despite the county’s emergency order prohibiting housing migrants from New York City.
One property manager who spoke to The Post-Journal said New York City representatives are offering $120 a night to house migrants in the county through a 12-month contract.
“This is an outrageous and illegal attempt to circumvent Chautauqua County’s emergency order,” Langworthy told The Post-Journal on Friday. “New York is a home-rule state, and the Southern Tier isn’t going to be forced to shoulder the problems created by New York City liberals.”
The county’s emergency order is one of 32 that have been challenged in court by New York City officials, who claim orders by Chautauqua County and other rural counties obstruct the city’s efforts to address the migrant crisis as permitted by law and required by the statewide emergency.
The lawsuit states counties are acting in excess of their jurisdiction and lawful authority while conflicting with state Social Services Law, state Human Rights Law and Title 2 of the U.S. Civil Rights Act as well as the Equal Protection Clause and the right to travel in the U.S. Constitution.
“In the current statewide emergency and humanitarian crisis, every day counts and every bit matters,” the lawsuit states. “The number of individuals who would be temporarily placed in any hotels in any particular Respondent’s jurisdiction is relatively small in the scheme of the crisis, and poses no cognizable harm to Respondents or their communities. But these modest steps can add up to significant strides in how the state and localities handle this crisis.”
A judge has ruled that New York City will have to litigate the case in state Supreme Courts throughout the state rather than consolidating the case into one lawsuit to be heard closer to New York City. While the case is litigated, it’s unclear if New York City representatives are reaching out to get their ducks in a row if Chautauqua County’s emergency order is invalidated or if city officials believe private contracts between the New York City and private business owners supersede the county’s emergency order.
At least one property manager, though, was told by those who contacted him to house migrants that the emergency order isn’t enforceable.