86 men allowed to stay at Red Roof Inn on Route 9

Astate judge temporarily ordered New York City to stop sending asylum-seekers to Dutchess and provide the county with the names of dozens of men the city is sheltering at a Red Roof Inn in the Town of Poughkeepsie.

William F.X. O'Neil, the Dutchess County executive, speaks at a news conference on Tuesday (May 23). Putnam County Executive Kevin Byrne stands to his right. (Putnam County photo)
William F.X. O’Neil, the Dutchess County executive, speaks at a news conference on Tuesday (May 23). Putnam County Executive Kevin Byrne stands to his right. (Putnam County photo)

Judge Maria Rosa issued her ruling on Tuesday (May 23), four days after Dutchess County sued New York City and the hotel’s owner.

Rosa’s decision does not affect 66 migrants who arrived at the Red Roof Inn on Sunday (May 21), including 40 who were temporarily housed in Sullivan County, and 20 more who arrived on Monday. But it does ban any more migrants from being sent to Dutchess County and requires that New York City continue paying the expenses of those already housed at the Red Roof Inn.

Her ruling also allows officials to inspect the Red Roof Inn, as well as a Holiday Inn on Route 9 that has the same owner but is not housing migrants.

The order is effective through June 20 while Rosa considers Dutchess’ request for a permanent injunction. At a news conference on Tuesday outside the Fishkill Town Hall, William F.X. O’Neil, the Republican county executive, castigated the city, New York State and the federal government; he earlier issued a statement calling the Democratic administration of President Joe Biden “incompetent and ineffective.”

“The worst will be if these asylum-seeking migrants end up staying in Dutchess County, and the government that is now financing them pulls financing, and they have to find they have to fend for themselves,” said O’Neil on Tuesday. He was joined at the news conference by Putnam County Executive Kevin Byrne, a Republican, and Fishkill Supervisor Ozzy Albra, a Democrat.

“We are not prepared for the housing needs that they have,” O’Neil said.

More than 70,000 migrants have recently arrived in New York City, and 42,000 are being sheltered there, Mayor Eric Adams said Sunday on Face the Nation. During a news conference the next day with Gov. Kathy Hochul, Adams said that 5,800 migrants arrived in New York City last week and 4,200 the week before.

Along with Dutchess, two other counties, Orange and Rockland, have filed lawsuits to prevent New York City from sending asylum-seekers to local hotels for up to four months. Orange County won a restraining order against two hotels in the Town of Newburgh that are housing 186 migrants.

The Red Roof Inn on Route 9 is lodging 86 asylum-seekers from New York City.
The Red Roof Inn on Route 9 is lodging 86 asylum-seekers from New York City. (Photo by L. Sparks)

On the day Dutchess sued, O’Neil declared a state of emergency, citing an “imminent peril to the public health and safety.” He also threatened to sue hotels, motels and short-term lodging businesses whose property is used for “an emergency shelter, homeless shelter or long-term overnight dormitory.”

Byrne declared his own state of emergency in Putnam on Monday and issued three executive orders, including one that directs hotels, motels and people with temporary residency permits “not to accept migrants and asylum-seekers from NYC, essentially transforming them into homeless shelters, absent a shared-services agreement with Putnam County.”

Another declared Putnam to be a “rule-of-law” county and not a “sanctuary” county. He said a rule-of-law county is distinguished by the fact it does not house asylum seekers.

Although New York City has not requested lodging in Putnam, “it’s clearly at our doorstep,” Byrne said on Tuesday. “It’s important to take that preemptive action to ensure that we protect our communities.”

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Like O’Neil, Byrne blamed Biden. “The president’s refusal to take ownership of this crisis and take corrective actions to secure our nation’s southern border and fix the asylum-seeking process leaves New York City and its surrounding communities in a mess,” he said in a statement.

In their responses to Dutchess’ lawsuit, New York City and Route 9 Hotel LLC criticized the claims of harm as “speculative.” They also argued that an emergency order Hochul issued on May 9 in response to the influx of asylum-seekers preempted the county ban on migrants.

Part of Hochul’s order is meant to “facilitate the occupancy by asylum refugees of temporary housing, specifically including hotels, across the state,” said Route 9 Hotel LLC in its filing.

In addition, the company submitted guidance from the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, which says that although New York City should employ temporary housing outside its boundaries as a “last resort,” the city does not need permission to do so.

According to New York City: “There is simply no concrete basis to suggest that the health or safety of any Dutchess County resident would be placed at risk by the City of New York providing services to the individuals that would be temporarily located” at hotels.

Behind The Story

Type: News

News: Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

The Peekskill resident is a former reporter for the Times Herald-Record in Middletown, where he covered Sullivan County and later Newburgh. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Morgan State University and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland. Location: Cold Spring. Languages: English. Area of Expertise: General.

7 replies on “Judge Bars Migrants from Dutchess Hotels”

  1. I am fortunate that all four of my grandparents were able to enter this country and make a life for themselves and their families. I only regret I did not ask questions about their routes and that I did not thank them when they were alive.

  2. Send them all back to their respective countries, now. Thank you so much, Mr. O’Neil. Please protect us and our children from these wartorn peoples who need to go back and claim what is their birthright instead of creeping in on our homeland. Tell Biden and Hochul to do their jobs, or be recalled for treason.

    1. Maybe we all need to go back to where we came from! If you not Native American, you are not from here.

  3. I was troubled to that you chose to print the hateful comment by Sue Clary in the print paper. While I support free speech, and work for an organization that supports free speech (PEN America), I do not support hate speech. Publishing such dehumanizing rhetoric about marginalized people facing immense trauma and discrimination only amplifies and legitimizes hate speech while contributing to an environment of hostility toward asylum-seekers.

    As you continue to discern which submissions to publish in Letters and Comments while upholding your mission of being “a trusted independent and nonpartisan source of information on topics of importance to our Hudson Highlands communities,” I hope you will consider the impact of the voices you choose to amplify and how they directly affect the greater good of Highland communities.

  4. That was an interesting set of letters to the editor in response to your coverage of the asylum-seekers being bused to Dutchess. Placing the letters from Sue Clary and Jane Silver Timm next to each other in the print paper covered the spectrum and is a wonderful commentary on the range of thought in our society.

  5. The declaration of a state of emergency in Putnam by County Executive Kevin Byrne due to the migrant housing crisis in New York City is unacceptable. Byrne is deliberately stoking racist fears based on imaginary circumstances: Asylum-seekers are not being sent to Putnam. In fact, the New York Civil Liberties Union is suing counties that are attempting to block hotels from housing migrants, so this just sets us up for wasting money on entirely avoidable lawsuits.

    Sadly, the characterization of asylum-seekers and other immigrants as dangerous criminals is distasteful, but it fits one of Putnam’s age-old traditions of insensitivity and a lack of inclusiveness. No human being is illegal.

    The county executive needs to withdraw his state of emergency and promote a spirit of compassion and understanding for our fellow human beings who have chosen to come to this country from adverse hostile circumstances. As established residents of Putnam, we are far removed from their fate, but we may have relatives, parents or ancestors who were refugees from war, ethnic persecution and economic adversity because of corruption. In a global society, immigrants need to be treated humanely, as fellow citizens and as neighbors whom we embrace with love and compassion.

    Tempel wrote on behalf of the Putnam Human Rights Task Force. His letter also was signed by Baila Lemonik of Putnam Progressives and Eileen McDermott of Putnam Pride.

    1. On Thursday (June 8), New York City sued more than 30 counties, including Dutchess and Putnam, for issuing “unlawful emergency executive orders.”

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