In the wake of sexual abuse allegations, the National Guard has been summoned to western New York. The accused is a migrant who was part of the controversial resettlement program initiated by New York City Mayor Eric Adams. Erie County officials have pointed the finger at a third-party contractor, hired by New York City to oversee the migrant hotel operation, for potentially obstructing local police investigations into the assaults. They are urging the Biden administration and Congress to step in and address the crisis at a federal level.
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, a Democrat, announced in a Saturday press conference that the transfer of additional asylum seekers from New York City would be put on hold until the security measures concerning the migrants are enhanced. He also mentioned that New York Governor Kathy Hochul, a fellow Democrat, had consented to the deployment of National Guard members at each of the hotels housing asylum seekers, to serve as a “stabilizing presence.”
Poloncarz and Cheektowaga Chief of Police Brian Gould have called for an immediate halt to the use of the Best Western hotel on Dingens Street as a shelter for asylum seekers. This call came after a 27-year-old woman, an employee of Platinum Community Care – one of the agencies servicing the asylum seekers – reported being sexually assaulted at the hotel.
Following an investigation, Kindu Jeancy, a 22-year-old male asylum seeker from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, was charged with felony first-degree sexual abuse and misdemeanor unlawful imprisonment. Jeancy was expected to be arraigned on Saturday in Cheektowaga Court by Justice John Wanat.
Both the police chief and county executive have alleged that DocGo, a third-party contractor hired by New York City for $432 million to oversee the migrant hotel operations, may have interfered with the Cheektowaga Police Department’s investigations into the sexual assault cases.
Poloncarz stated that he had spoken with Hochul, Adams, and New York State Department of Homeland Security Commissioner Jackie Brey about the situation. He demanded that Mayor Adams halt all further transportation of asylum seekers to Erie County until all security issues could be resolved. He also emphasized the need for a new and improved security plan, particularly in light of the potential interference by DocGo in the police investigation.
Poloncarz expressed his disappointment in the current situation, stating that Erie County had always welcomed new Americans. However, he acknowledged that the current program was unsustainable without significant changes. He also emphasized that the issue of immigration was a federal one and called on the Biden administration and Congress to implement comprehensive immigration reform.
Erie County Legislator Frank Todaro, a Republican, provided some insight into the first alleged migrant sex crime incident. He stated that a “self-proclaimed asylum seeker that was shipped here from NYC was charged with raping a woman in front of a 3-year-old child” and claimed other migrants had been arrested on petit larceny charges.
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