A proposal to send illegal immigrants to Upstate New York to help lessen the burden in New York City isn’t sitting well with Rep. Joe Sempolinski.
Sempolinski, the Republican congressman who was elected this summer to the 23rd District, addressed a report in the New York Post last month that U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand wants to help solve New York City’s shelter crisis by relocating migrants to upstate cities.
The Post said the discussion took place behind closed doors, but was confirmed by NYC Councilmember Gale Brewer, D-Manhattan.
During his weekly phone conference Tuesday, Sempolinski expressed his opposition. “New York City is the richest city on the planet. If they’re concerned that they don’t have the resources and the means to deal with the situation, it’s sort of strange that upstate New York would have the resources to deal with the situation,” he said.
The Post-Journal/OBSERVER asked Sempolinski if he has spoken to Gillibrand about her proposal. “Not as of yet but it is something that we will be doing,” he responded.
Sempolinski expressed his concern that smaller towns aren’t equipped to deal with immigration. “If the mayor of New York City is concerned about his capacity to deal with the issue, maybe someplace like Dunkirk or Fredonia or some place even smaller – we have a lot of small communities in the 23rd District – if New York City has a resource issue, if New York City has a capacity issue, certainly some places like the places I represent are going to have capacity issues and resource issues,” he said.
Sempolinski blamed President Joe Biden and Gillibrand for the increase in illegal immigration. “I am all for legal immigration, but the President’s policies have created a system that encourages illegal immigration over doing things by the book and following our rule of law. I will always stand with the people of the 23rd who are sick and tired of politicians in Washington, Albany, and New York City inflicting them with their disastrous policies.”
According to the Post, Gillibrand proposed providing $9 billion-plus federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, which is supposed to help low- and moderate-income communities by preventing or eliminating slums and blight, to pay for the migrants relocating to upstate.