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First buses of asylum seekers arrive in Orange County, as NYC says it's out of options

New York City sending asylum seekers to suburbs
New York City sending asylum seekers to suburbs 02:41

NEWBURGH, N.Y. -- The struggle to find shelter for tens of thousands of asylum seekers arriving in New York City is continuing. 

Thursday, the Adams administration defied a state of emergency order in Orange County, sending two buses with a total of about 40 asylum seekers to a hotel in Newburgh. 

Two chartered buses arrived at the Crossroads Hotel in the Town of Newburgh, each carrying about 20 single, male asylum seekers.

Watch Tony Aiello's report

NYC sends 2 buses with asylum seekers to Orange County 02:57

"Thank you very much for the welcome. Thank you very much," said asylum seeker Wilson Idiarte. 

Idiarte said he's a construction worker from Bolivia. 

Alejandro Rivas, from Venezuela, arrived wearing a surplus t-shirt given to him by New York City and no shoelaces; they were taken away by border patrol when he crossed from Mexico into the U.S. a week ago. 

Rivas was relieved to find people welcoming the bus and pledging to support the asylum seekers. 

"The people are so kind," he said in Spanish. "It really is a joy to feel this. Thank you to all of you for being so kind." 

Not everyone is putting out the welcome mat

"What I think is not going to be a proper thing to say, so I think we'll leave it like that. I don't think they belong here," one person said.

"New York City has taken in over 60,000 migrants since Joe Biden took office. This is a crisis of epic proportions," Hudson Valley Republican Congressman Mike Lawler said.

Lawler says he wants no part of New York City sending migrants to his district in Orangetown.

"We do not have the resources, nor capabilities to handle a massive influx of hundreds, if not thousands, of migrants at a given time," he said.

Local police monitored the arrivals but did not interact with the asylum seekers.

Rockland community rallies in support of asylum seekers 36:15

Wednesday night, Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus said New York City agreed to honor his emergency order and delay any relocations. Mayor Eric Adams sent the buses Thursday anyway. 

"Last night, the state and city assured [us] that no buses would be coming up here. Sadly, we learned we cannot trust the word from the mayor, Eric Adams. This whole process has been a disorganized disaster, and the blame lies with the mayor of New York, who opened the door and now has a self-induced crisis," Neuhaus said in a statement. 

Advocates released a photo of the orderly intake center in the hotel lobby. 

"Unlike the rhetoric that is out there, I think the city has been diligent in setting up enough resources," Orange County Legislator Genesis Ramos said. "There are others, other organizations, community members, that are willing to step up and support in any way possible." 

"We validate the fact that, logistically, there should be more communication and more transparency around the process. But we can't just equate that automatically to demonizing folks or making the situation more volatile than it has to be," said Legislator Genesis Ramos.

Rockland community members held a news conference Thursday morning in Spring Valley, accusing County Executive Ed Day and Lawler of engaging in dangerous anti-immigrant rhetoric.

"We are demonizing people who are simply trying to find a path to live their lives in peace and give their families an opportunity to thrive," Emily Feiner, of Rockland United, said. "We, as Americans, should be standing for that opportunity."

The New York Civil Liberties Union on Thursday filed a federal lawsuit against Rockland and Orange counties for issuing executive orders barring the arrival of migrants. It says the counties declared nonexistent emergencies.

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