Editor’s note: The CEO of the non-profit support group has been accused of misrepresenting the events described in this story.
Democrats joined with Republicans to voice their dismay in response to reports about the evictions taking place as migrants started to get bused north out of New York City — which is already spending millions of dollars to house thousands of migrants — into towns in Orange County in anticipation of a possible surge with Title 42 expiring last week.
“This is bulls***. 20 veterans lost their housing tonight because of incompetence by [the] New York City government,” tweeted Rep. Pat Ryan (D-NY) on Monday. “I am doing everything I can to ensure these service members have a bed to sleep in tonight. Let me be clear. This will not be tolerated.”
Rep. Mike Lawler (R-NY) condemned New York City Democratic Mayor Eric Adams, who last week began transporting migrants roughly 60 miles north of the Big Apple to Orange County with a plan to house them for up to four months.
“It is absolutely outrageous that homeless veterans would be displaced to alleviate New York City’s migrant crisis. That Mayor Eric Adams would choose to endanger the welfare of our veterans speaks volumes to what a debacle this has become,” Lawler said in a statement.
“These veterans served their country, taking an oath to put themselves in harm’s way if need be,” David R. Riley Sr., American Legion Department of New York commander, said in a statement. “They deserve better. We owe them. Our country, our state, our citizens owe them.”
Concerns began to mount after Sharon Toney-Finch, CEO of the Yerik Israel Toney Foundation, told the New York Post that 20 homeless veterans were moved out of hotels in Newburgh and Middletown to create space for migrants. Toney-Finch, herself a disabled military veteran, said the homeless veterans had been moved to another hotel.
Adding to the controversy were reports about wedding parties losing hotel reservations as asylum-seekers were being relocated from New York City. Leaders in Orange County as well as Rockland County have declared emergencies and sued over the migrant program.
“New York City has cared for more than 65,000 migrants — sheltering, feeding, and caring for them, and we have done so largely without incident,” said Fabien Levy, a spokesperson for Adams. “Right now, we’re asking Orange County to manage less than one-quarter of 1% of the asylum seekers who have come to New York City, with New York paying for shelter, food, and services.”