Dutchess Judge Issues New Migrant Ban

County cites TB cases in lawsuit against NYC, hotels

A state judge has barred New York City from sending more migrants to hotels in Dutchess County until she decides whether to issue a permanent ban in the county’s lawsuit against the city and two hotels.

Judge Maria Rosa’s ruling, issued Aug. 4., highlighted the positive tests for the tuberculosis bacteria of 12 asylum-seekers being housed at the Red Roof Inn on Route 9 in the Town of Poughkeepsie as evidence that the county has been harmed by New York City’s transport of 88 migrants to the hotel on May 21.

One of the people tested had an active infection, according to the county. With latent TB infections, a person is symptom-free and not contagious, but could become sick if untreated. 

Rosa also questioned the city’s argument that it is permitted under state Social Services law to transport and house migrants, and the contention by the owners of the Red Roof and Holiday Inn on Route 9 that they are entitled under federal and state law to contract with the city. 

She ordered the city to provide Dutchess with the names of each migrant and notification when someone leaves, and allow the county to conduct safety inspections at the Red Roof Inn, which is the only one of the two hotels where migrants are staying, and to provide medical and other services. 

“It cannot be reasonably disputed that in the future, the current and any future shelter seekers continuing to reside in the county will require similar local resources, as well as social, emergency and fire services,” Rosa wrote.

Her ruling replaces a temporary injunction issued May 23, two days after Dutchess filed its lawsuit against New York City, the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance and the entities that own the Holiday and Red Roof inns: Sai Ram Management LLC and Route 9 Hotel LLC. 

On the day Rosa issued the temporary injunction, William F.X. O’Neil, Dutchess’ Republican county executive, castigated the city, New York State and the federal government; he had 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. 

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 May 9 in response to the influx of asylum-seekers since spring 2022 preempted the county ban on migrants. 

Part of the governor’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, which is struggling to find housing for nearly 100,000 new migrants: “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.

Despite the city’s assurances, Dutchess’ Department of Behavioral and Community Health received notice on June 3 of a positive blood test for tuberculosis, three days after SunRiver Health visited the Red Roof Inn, according to the affidavit from Livia Santiago-Rosado, the county’s health commissioner. 

Further testing “suggested the need for isolation and hospitalization due to concern for active disease,” said Santiago-Rosado, whose affidavit was filed June 23. The county brought its mobile RV to the hotel on June 8, along with nurses, two public health advisers and Spanish-speaking support staff. 

More than 50 asylum-seekers underwent testing for tuberculosis over a three-week period, with eight initially testing positive, Santiago-Rodriguez said in her affidavit. 

One thought on “Dutchess Judge Issues New Migrant Ban

  1. So, Mr. Dutchess County Executive, you’re calling the Democratic administration of President Joe Biden “incompetent and ineffective.” How do you feel about today’s Republican Party?

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