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NYC Sues Cortland and Other Upstate NY Counties

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Cortland County has been listed as one of the dozens of counties in Upstate New York being sued by the City of New York in a recent filing in the State’s Supreme Court.


The lawsuit is part of Cortland and other Upstate counties using a Declaration of State of Emergency Order to block any migrants or asylum seekers from entering their said county. In the lawsuit, lawyers for NYC claim the Upstate Counties are trying to “Wall off their borders” from migrants seeking asylum.

“They have further issued executive orders prohibiting “foreign” municipalities and local hotels from providing temporary shelter for migrants or asylum seekers, and imposing civil and criminal penalties on them if they do so. Several counties and a town have sought and obtained restraining orders against the City and any hotel willing to do business with the City. One county even forced a hotel to close, displacing ordinary hotel guests and posting county law enforcement to monitor the location twenty-four hours a day.” The complaint stated.

The lawsuit specifically names Cortland County and Chair of the Legislator Kevin Fitch as two of the many defendants being sued by NYC. New York City has noted in the suit they have tried to work with municipalities by offering to cover the cost for residence, food, healthcare, etc. for up to four months.

The suit continues to argue that the orders were based on discrimination as a majority of the language used in the orders against migrant and asylum seekers, which lawyers argue is illegal under New York State Law.

X101 News reached out to Cortland County Legislative Chair Kevin Fitch who did not have a statement on the pending litigation against him and the county, but had a statement on the County’s current State of Emergency.

“Cortland County has been in a State of Emergency since May 12, 2023 following the actions of New York City regarding asylum seeker placements outside of New York City. Since that time, we have held many meetings and taken the opportunity to discuss the resources in Cortland County, the legality of New York City’s actions, the effects on Cortland County and the effect of New York City’s actions on both the outlying municipalities and the asylum seekers themselves. Cortland County is committed to continuing those efforts and the subcommittee and County officials are developing a plan.” Fitch said in his statement.

“Based upon the research and work done thus far, it has been decided not to renew the State of Emergency upon expiration. This decision is based upon the information gathered and the current plans in place to protect Cortland County from any actions by New York City without prior consultation. The current State of Emergency expires June 11, 2023.” He continued.

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