State, federal representatives critical of call to house migrants at Massena airport
BY JEFF CHUDZINSKI
North Country This Week
MASSENA — North Country lawmakers continue to weigh in on a proposal that could end with migrants from New York City being housed at the Massena International Airport if New York City Mayor Eric Adams gets his way.
News of the possible plan broke on Aug. 29 with a CBS News story that included a list of 11 sites in consideration to house migrants who illegally entered the country and are now housed in New York City. The list was provided to city officials by the Department of Homeland Security. No official action has yet been taken and Massena officials remain in the dark about the proposal, according to Town Supervisor Sue Bellor.Congresswoman Elise Stefanik said she stands in solidarity with local elected officials and St. Lawrence County residents.
"I proudly stand with the bipartisan coalition of local elected officials and the hardworking residents of St. Lawrence County who oppose using Massena International Airport as a site to house illegal immigrants. Upstate New York and the North Country is not a "Sanctuary City." We should not have to bear the cost of Joe Biden, Kathy Hochul, and Eric Adams' Far Left open border policies and the havoc they are causing. I will continue to work with this bipartisan coalition of local officials to ensure our communities remain safe and that Massena International Airport is not used as a site to house illegal immigrants. Once again, I call on President Biden to end his radical open border policies and secure our Northern and Southern Borders,” Stefanik said.
State Senator Dan Stec was also critical of the move, noting that a bipartisan majority of elected officials in St. Lawrence County oppose the plan.
“Governor Hochul and New York City Mayor Adams declared New York a “sanctuary city,” and now that it’s time to follow through on that statement, are looking to pass this crisis onto North Country communities that lack the infrastructure and funding necessary to manage it. I join county legislators from both parties in opposing the use of Massena International Airport or any location in St. Lawrence County as housing for illegal immigrants. Instead of looking to force the North Country to bear the brunt of the immigration crisis, state and New York City officials must solve the problem they created in welcoming hundreds of thousands of undocumented individuals into the city. And the Biden administration must finally work with Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform,” Stec said in a press release.
Assemblyman Scott Gray said it is up to New York City to handle the situation, saying the “right to shelter” law in the city does not mean they can “impose their will or legislation on communities outside of the city because they are unable to address their issues.”
“First and foremost, Massena Airport is primarily designed for transportation and aviation-related activities, and repurposing it as a migrant housing facility could have detrimental effects on its functionality. The airport serves as a vital hub for local businesses, tourism, and transportation, and any disruption to its operations could have severe economic consequences for the region. Furthermore, the sudden influx of migrants in a facility not equipped to adequately handle their needs may lead to overcrowding and strain available local resources. The lack of appropriate infrastructure, such as medical facilities, educational institutions, and recreational spaces, would potentially compromise the well-being and safety of local residents,” Gray said in a press release.
For more information about the proposal and local officials’ responses, see our previous story here.