Suffolk County legislators are expected to vote this week on hiring an attorney to explore options to block asylum-seekers from being sent to the county.
A special meeting is scheduled Thursday at 9 a.m. at the William H. Rogers legislature building in Happauge.
An attorney has not yet been chosen, according to Presiding Officer Kevin McCaffrey (R-Lindenhurst).
“The idea behind this is to hire outside counsel that has expertise in municipal law that would be able to direct us to see what our options (are) in the event New York City or anyone sends migrants to Suffolk County,” McCaffrey said Tuesday.
McCaffrey and other Republicans on the legislature announced the plan in late May but did not move forward with it at their most recent general meeting on May 23. McCaffrey said at the time there was “nothing happening right now that leads us to believe we have to take immediate action.”
Days later, County Executive Steve Bellone issued an emergency order that does not ban migrants but calls for the county to work with the state on the issue. The order formalizes the creation of a local team that "will continue to coordinate directly with New York State regarding this ongoing crisis and talk with local nonprofits to assist," according to a news release.
The order seeks to block Suffolk hotels, motels and shelters from contracting with New York City to accept asylum-seekers. Bellone said the state should coordinate the response and choose federal and state sites to place migrants. His order is similar to ones issued recently by other Democratic county executives in Albany and Monroe counties.
As of mid-May, Suffolk had not been asked to help shelter migrants that have been bused to New York City.
Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, has said that State University of New York campuses could be a possible temporary housing solution. She has not confirmed or denied that Stony Brook University would be one of them.
The county’s task force will be headed by Chief Deputy County Executive Lisa Black and include members of the county’s police and social services departments.