Carl Campanile, New York Post, August 13, 2023
A top upstate Dem official and previous vocal supporter of housing migrants there now says he will refuse additional resettlements — after a second local alleged sex assault involving an asylum-seeker.
The frustrated pol, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, added that the National Guard will start providing security at the three hotels-turned-migrant shelters in Cheektowaga in Erie within a day or two, after he learned the facilities are not safe, according to a weekend report.
Poloncarz said the county’s “trust and good faith has been betrayed,” including potentially by the New York City-hired firm paid hundreds of millions of dollars to oversee the relocation of migrants from the Big Apple to other areas.
The county exec said the company, DocGo, “may have interfered” with a Cheektowaga police investigation into the second assault case, which involves a hotel-worker victim.
About 540 asylum-seekers have been brought to Erie County to ease the Big Apple’s flood of migrants. Some local officials had already been calling for them to be removed from the hotels-turned-shelters, saying the migrants hadn’t been vetted properly in terms of safety and that the communities couldn’t handle the influx.
Last week, a migrant from Venezuela who was bussed from New York City to a Cheektowaga hotel was charged with raping a woman in front of a 3-year-old child at the site.
Then an asylum-seeker from the Democratic Republic of the Congo was arrested Friday and is being charged with sex abuse and unlawful imprisonment after allegedly sexually assaulting an employee inside the Best Western hotel in Cheektowaga near Buffalo Airport.
“Erie County opened its arms to try to welcome these new Americans,” said Poloncarz — who in May scoffed at issuing a declaration of emergency as some other counties did to try to prevent the migrants being bussed in.
The second migrant-hotel sex-assault victim was a 27-year-old woman from Buffalo who was working at the Best Western and employed by Platinum Community Care, one of the agencies providing services to the migrants, said Cheektowaga Police Department Chief Brian Gould.
As for DocGo, Hochul has already said her staff is looking into whether the company – which was awarded a massive $432 million contract by the Adams administration to relocate migrants upstate – has allegedly mistreated and misled asylum-seekers.