The City of New York officially filed a “Notice of Discontinuance” on September 14 regarding its lawsuit against the Town of Riverhead in connection with the issuance of a series of executive orders and state of emergency declarations. Riverhead Town Supervisor Yvette Aguiar said they will be renewed weekly and will continue to be renewed.
“[T]he Executive Order/State of Emergency became necessary when I became aware [city officials] planned to bus asylum seekers to our hotels and other lodging facilities within the Town of Riverhead on May 16, 2023,” Aguiar said in a statement.
Aguiar stated that the City of New York was in the process of busing homeless asylum seekers to Riverhead to be housed in local hotels for periods in excess of what is permitted in our Town Code and without rental permits.
“Not only would this type of emergency housing be in violation of our codes, [but] it would [also] limit hotel space during our busiest tourist season, thereby threatening the existing local jobs and the economy our community depends on,” Aguiar stated. “Further, the town was not notified or consulted in connection with New York City’s plan and we would have been unable to accommodate these individuals.”
Aguiar asserted that the town needed to be protected from the city’s poor decisions and not appropriately addressing the humanitarian crisis.
The executive order/state of emergency declaration prohibited hotels and other short-term lodging facilities from accepting homeless individuals, specifically asylum seekers to the Town of Riverhead and further directed that homeless shelters in the town not displace our own homeless population. According to the town’s website, the executive order was necessary to protect town residents, as well as asylum seekers from being housed in violation of the town code. Soon, New York City commenced litigation to have the local executive order vacated.
“I am glad that this chapter has concluded and that our actions in protecting our community from the fallout created by [New York] City’s chaos for the asylum seekers, and attempt to mitigate this federal issue in Riverhead, has come to a close,” Aguiar said. “All towns should be afforded their own Home Rule and again, I thank New York City for understating Riverhead’s individual town zoning statutes, across all towns in New York State.”
She also called the migrant situation “a humanitarian crisis,” which must be addressed by the Biden administration and New York City Mayor Eric Adams.