Immigrant Advocates Reject Putnam County’s Extreme Proposal to Ban Housing of Asylum Seekers

New York, NY—Today, the Putnam County Legislature Rules Committee will vote on a measure to expand the Putnam County Code entitled “Unauthorized Operation of Homeless Shelters,” to include temporary housing of asylum seekers. In addition, the County Executive has issued the “PUTNAM COUNTY STATE OF EMERGENCY DECLARATION & CORRESPONDING EXECUTIVE ORDERS INCLUDING DECLARATION of PUTNAM COUNTY AS A RULE OF LAW COUNTY.” This Executive Order was put in place on May 22nd by the Putnam County Executive, Kevin Byrne, and expires today. 

Nancy Montgomery, Putnam County Legislator, District 1:

“It’s outrageous that my Republican colleagues in the legislature are moving forward dangerous legislation that will create more divisiveness, make our region less safe for all, and make the very few existing homeless shelters illegal, all simply to cater to extremists.  At a time when our region is still struggling to recover from the economic hardships of the pandemic, these legislators are not only fanning the flames of hate, but once again ignoring our county’s humanitarian responsibilities and curtailing the economic opportunity of our local businesses. Instead of infringing on the rights of business owners and opening our county up to lawsuits, we need to be working toward solutions that build our communities and our economy.”

Murad Awawdeh, Executive Director, New York Immigration Coalition:

“The actions taken by the Putnam County lawmakers are a direct attempt to create an asylum seeker ban and is nothing more than a fear-mongering tactic fueled by racism and xenophobia. It’s shameful to see local officials exploit vulnerable immigrant families for cheap political points. Their actions do not represent the county’s diverse constituents who have stood by immigrants and have previously welcomed new neighbors with open arms, dignity and respect, just as New Yorkers have for generations of immigrants before them. History shows that immigrants add to the cultural richness and economic success of communities across the state. We call on the Putnam County Legislature to rescind this new and dangerous piece of legislation.”