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Steuben County offers update on asylum seekers/migrant crisis

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“Steuben County has not issued a declaration of state of emergency for some very important reasons”

With multiple New York counties issuing states of emergency in anticipation of an asylum seeker/migrant crisis, Steuben County officials want to offer an update on actions taken to proactively address this situation.

To date, Steuben County has not issued a declaration of state of emergency for some very important reasons. First, county officials are engaging with state agencies, such as the NYS Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES) and the NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA), the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC), and others stakeholders on nearly a daily basis. Under NYS OTDA regulations, for a county or the City of New York to place individuals in temporary housing outside of their jurisdiction, they must notify the receiving county prior. Steuben County has received no indication that asylum seekers/migrants have been or will be placed in the county in the near future.

Further, NYS law requires specific thresholds for an emergency to be declared, including the presence of ‘an immediate danger’. As Steuben County has not received any indication that there is a planned influx of asylum seekers/migrants, a state of emergency is improper at this time. In addition, local states of emergency and emergency orders have a maximum time limit of 30 days. If Steuben were to declare an emergency too early, it could lose the ability to implement provisions for response if circumstances required this at a later time.

This issue is a top priority for Steuben County officials, and the situation monitored continuously. The county lacks the infrastructure to support a large influx of a temporary homeless population. Should a situation arise where such an influx was planned, the county will take the necessary steps, including issuance of a state of emergency.

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