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31 migrants, including children, found living under dangerous conditions inside small house in New City, New York

31 migrants found living in dangerous house in Rockland County
31 migrants found living in dangerous house in Rockland County 02:03

NEW CITY, N.Y. -- Rockland County officials uncovered a dire situation in New City, where 31 migrants from South America were found sharing a small house. 

Children were sleeping on mattresses in the garage, officials said. 

Mattresses and a microwave resting outside the 1,500-square-foot house on New Hempstead Road were small indications of the big problems building officials found inside. 

"Children residing in the garage, in the attic, in the unfinished basement," said Clarkstown Supervisor George Hoehmann. "The electrical, totally overloaded." 

Hoehmann said the conditions, including unapproved work to subdivide the home, put the 31 people living there in danger and that a fire could've been deadly. 

Investigators said most of the occupants were recent arrivals from Ecuador. Clarkstown believes some crossed the southern border as recently as two weeks ago and had help getting to New York City, then to Rockland County. 

"This just does not happen by itself. The movement of people like this, is something being set up by design. And somebody's getting rich over it," said Rockland County Executive Ed Day. 

Clarkstown is investigating who arranged for the people to stay in the small home and whether the residents were in the process of applying for asylum. 

Local elected Republicans said the situation is a consequence of ineffective border enforcement, and a lack of state and federal planning and resources for asylum seekers and migrants. 

"There needs to be accountability and there needs to be a reckoning here, and people need to wake up and work together to solve the crisis," said Rep. Mike Lawler

Clarkstown is taking landlord Shloima Koppel of Monsey to court to address various alleged violations at the house. 

Several not-for-profits are expected to assist those who are now displaced because of the enforcement action. 

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