Representative Langworthy and Higgins discuss asylum seekers

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CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. — As the heated subject of asylum seekers continues to ignite a political firestorm here in Western New York, another Republican politician is heavily criticizing Democratic leaders here in New York state.

That is over what he says are policies which caused developing issues and extra costs for taxpayers. It is tied to growing frustrations in how the program is being handled.

Republican Congressman Nick Langworthy, of the 23rd District which stretches from Clarence to Corning, wants the Senate and Biden Administration to strengthen southern border policy restrictions.

And he is ripping New York state and local Democratic leaders on their migrant policies. He told reporters, “Governor Hochul should do the right thing and shut this down. New York City made a decision to become a sanctuary city. Governor Hochul is an upstater – she’s a Western New Yorker. Why is she exporting New York City’s problems upstate.”

That follows two sexual assault cases involving asylum seekers and a tuberculosis case reported in one such individual last week. The alleged sexual assaults prompted a hold on more migrant relocations to Erie County, the assignment of the National Guard to those hotels, and a requested shutdown by the county and town officials of a Dingens Street hotel for migrant housing. We still saw people in that Dingens Street location Monday even as Erie County told us the actual relocation would be up to New York City and its subcontractor to handle that work and line up a new property for such shelter. 

The “pause” on new migrants transported here from New York City is also temporary and will remain until Erie County officials say proper security arrangements can be made. 

We do know a New York State National Guard Major General is now in Erie County to set up a command center for the deployment of National Guard troops to those hotels.  

Langworthy had plenty more to say about the situation. 

“People in Texas – they have to mitigate the crisis because the onslaught is constant. So they ask these people where do you wanna go? New York. Because they know they can go there ,hide in plain sight, there’ll be no law enforcement taking place, and they are well on their way to being cared for, housed, clothed.”

He added, “It’s now hurting our community. We can’t stand by as violent sexual assaults and the introduction of diseases we haven’t seen in this country for a long time. They threaten our community.”

Then Langworthy stated, “I think that what Governor Hochul should do to help people in Erie County. – send a dozen buses up here and bring the folks back to New York City where they came from. But let’s face facts. she’s not gonna do that.”   

“There is a limit to what you can do and these people – we want to treat them humanely and make sure that they have all the resources they need in order to flourish,” Democratic Congressman Brian Higgins said over the weekend.

In the meantime, the Cheektowaga Police Department is seeking state reimbursement of their extra costs. They also confirm prior reports of migrants arrested for shoplifting. Chief Brian Gould notes one such arrest lead to a quote “disturbance” in a store and a housing hotel with a person removed from the relocation program. It is run by a firm called DOCGo through its $432 million contract with New York City. 

At the same time, state and New York City officials still press the Biden Administration for more federal funding for what Governor Hochul says is a humanitarian crisis which cost billions of dollars.

“I expect we’ll face appropriations requests I haven’t seen them. I’m not gonna comment on a bill that hasn’t been written. The President doesn’t know what the Hell to do here,” Langworthy says.

Democratic Congressman Brian Higgins told 2 on Your Side on Saturday, “It’s going to be a big financial burden. It has to be shared and it should be taken off the local government’s hands. The state governement and federal government should provide that kind of funding. There is a limit to what you can do and these people – we want to treat them humanely and make sure that they have all the resources they need in order to flourish.”. 

So 2 On Your Side asked Langworthy again if he would support such aid from Washington, even as some Republic county legislators do. 

“I think we have to see some policy changes before I would advocate for more spending. Don’t create a haven and then expect everyone else to clean up your mess,” Langworthy said.  

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