BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The agency contracted by New York City to help with the casework of asylum seekers says there are no more immediate plans to send migrants to Erie County.
According to DocGo, an organization that shifted from COVID vaccines and testing to assist in the asylum seekers crisis, more than 100,000 migrants have come to New York City and roughly 500 were sent to Erie County.
News 4 spoke with the company’s President and COO, Lee Bienstock, about why they’re qualified to do this.
“First off, we provide medical transportation and we do that for thousands and thousands of patients a week. All of those logistics. Moving people from point A to point B,” Bienstock says. “We’ve been doing that since our company’s inception and we’ve done that hundreds and hundreds of thousands of times. We also do mobile medical care, and that’s a big component for the care of the asylum seekers. As I’ve mentioned, we first started working with them as they first arrived at Port Authority on those first buses, doing medical triage, mobile screenings. We also do vaccinations.”
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz believes the Dingens Street hotel in Cheektowaga that’s currently housing a number of migrants will soon be closed.
“It’s just a matter of they’ve got to move the folks,” Poloncarz, without noting a specific location, said during a conference Thursday.
The first asylum seekers to arrive in Erie County came this past June. Local Republican politicians have been highly critical of Poloncarz, with the Erie County Legislature’s Republican Caucus saying the County Executive “invited this problem to Erie County.”
The controversial situation was amplified by the news of two recent arrests pertaining to alleged sexual assaults.
The influx of asylum-seeking migrants into New York has put a strain on state resources, too. In a new letter, counsel representing New York’s Governor, Kathy Hochul, was particularly critical of New York City’s handling of the situation.
“The City has not made timely requests for regulatory changes, has not always promptly shared necessary information with the State, has not implemented programs in a timely manner, and has not consulted the State before taking certain actions,” an excerpt from the letter read.