MONTICELLO – Following Thursday’s revelation that the City of New York was going to place 100 people seeking asylum in the U.S. in SUNY Sullivan in Loch Sheldrake, county officials met Friday to learn details of the plan.
County, SUNY Sullivan, and Center for Discovery representatives put their heads together.
“We’re tentatively optimistic regarding a positive result for those involved,” said Legislature Chairman Rob Doherty. “We have been in close contact with the college and the Center before and after New York city Mayor Eric Adams announced his ‘Road Forward’ initiative, of which this pan is a part.”
Doherty said New York officials have assured the county that “those participating in this program will be vetted carefully – including by the FBI – and are already registered with U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Services, engaged in the process of asylum.”
According to the Center for Discovery and college officials, only single adults will be eligible for the program, with preference given to those who have already completed post-secondary courses and/or worked in healthcare and human services.
Those accepted into the program will have completed their background checks and be on file with the federal government as seeking asylum in the U.S.
“Considering the vulnerable population they serve, the Center is keenly involved in ensuring the people who are being trained will not compromise the safety of their residents or the integrity of their programs,” County Manager Josh Potosek said.
He said the new students would not be seeking local social services benefits ands New York City and outside agencies will be paying for their lodging, meals and education. “I anticipate no cost to local taxpayers.”
Under the plan, students will be considered New York City residents while at SUNY Sullivan. Some will be Ukrainian refuges fleeing the war-torn country, and others will be escaping potentially life-threatening conditions in their home countries.
“I shared my concern and thoughts about the sensitivity and challenges of this plan with the leaders of the college and Center, prompting productive conversations that will continue and should lead to a met win for all involved,” said Doherty. “SUNY Sullivan will have paid-in-full students in its dorms and classrooms, The Center for Discovery will gain talented and qualified people to assist their clients, the asylum-seekers will be affording a safer and brighter future, and our residents, workers ands college students will not be displaced, endangered or burdened,” he said.