New City, NY – Lawmakers in Rockland County are calling on the federal government to provide more support for asylum seekers. Both sides, including protesters outside the Rockland County Office Building, agreed on the need for Washington to do more to help meet the needs of asylum seekers. County Executive Ed Day and Representative Michael Lawler noted that the recent influx of asylum seekers arriving in New York City is spilling over into the Hudson Valley, and local governments and non-profits are struggling to provide adequate services.
Day said that asylum seekers are contributing to a surge in enrollment at local public schools, and districts such as East Ramapo are struggling to hire enough bilingual educators. However, there are limited federal aid programs available to asylum seekers, which has resulted in high demand at food pantries.
Rockland Department of Social Services’ Joan Silvestri stated that they are only asking for help to assist people, while immigrant Nelcy Garcia said that the federal government could and should do more to help.
Lawler is partnering with California Democrat Robert Garcia to find common ground on securing the border and creating an efficient pathway to legal status for many who have crossed it. However, the bigger challenge remains in fixing an immigration and asylum system that many consider to be broken. The cost of aiding asylum seekers is said to be “significant,” according to Rockland County.
Both sides recognize that immigration has a positive impact on the economy, communities, and culture. They are calling on the Biden administration to provide more support to communities aiding asylum seekers.