Assemblymember Wallace: State Resources Needed to Help Cheektowaga Schools Cope with New Students

“For the past few weeks, I have been in contact with representatives of DocGo and New York City Mayor Eric Adams and urged them to come up with a plan to relocate asylum seekers out of Cheektowaga hotels. I also support Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz’s call for a moratorium on accepting additional asylum seekers. Western New York has always been welcoming to immigrants, as evidenced by the successful integration of thousands of refugees into our community over the past few years. But unlike that controlled and well-coordinated process, the recent influx of asylum seekers was the polar opposite – with hundreds of individuals being bussed to Cheektowaga from New York City in the middle of the night to any hotel willing to accept them. As a result, the Town of Cheektowaga, where many of our region’s hotels are located, has borne the burden of hosting all of the asylum seekers being sent to Western New York. This has left law enforcement, social services agencies, and school districts scrambling to meet the challenges posed by their arrival.

“It is now clear that, despite assurances to the contrary by DocGo and the Adams’ administration, dozens of school-aged children are expected to enroll in Cheektowaga schools this September. I’ve already contacted state education officials to insist that additional resources be allocated to impacted Cheektowaga schools. Our constitution promises a quality education for all students, and I pledge to ensure that every Cheektowaga student receives one. I thank Maryvale Superintendent D’Angelo and the other school officials who have been working tirelessly to plan for a smooth transition of these new students since learning of them.

“While I commit to advocating for state resources so that any unexpected costs are not borne by the local districts, it is unfair to expect our state and local governments to pay the costs created by federal failures. This is a national crisis that needs a national solution. New York is just the latest in a long line of states to cry “uncle” in response to decades of federal inaction by both parties on immigration reform. Federal inaction led to this crisis; therefore, the onus is on our federal representatives to fix it. It’s time for both parties to work together to change our broken immigration system.”