Montgomery mayoral candidates at odds over ‘un-sanctuary’ resolution

From planes coming in at night to busloads of migrants from New York City, the immigration crisis has been on the county’s doorstep time and again.

Blaise Gomez

Mar 8, 2024, 11:13 PM

Updated 78 days ago

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The national controversy over the federal immigration crisis is making its way to the small Orange County village of Montgomery now that majority leaders have declared it an “un-sanctuary” community ahead of the village’s upcoming election.
From planes coming in at night to busloads of migrants from New York City, the immigration crisis has been on the county’s doorstep time and again.
“We need to get onboard here,” says village trustee Mike Hembury.
On Tuesday, Hembury proposed a resolution declaring the village an “un-sanctuary” community to block future asylum seekers from seeking refuge in the Village of Montgomery. The resolution swiftly passed by majority vote.
“It’s a no brainer. It’s protecting the village,” Hembury says.
Trustee Mike Hembury says he proposed the resolution on the spot as news of a migrant arrested in Georgia for murder is making national headlines, but not everyone on the board is onboard.
“It’s not something we should just vote on willy-nilly,” says trustee Randi Picarello. “If we can bring it up on a whim without anyone knowing, what precedent does that set?”
Picarello didn’t say if she agrees with the resolution. She says she voted to table the discussion to allow for public input.
Hembury and Picarello are both running for village mayor since the seat was vacated by the now Town Supervisor Steve Brescia. The controversy has thrust local politics into the spotlight.
“I don’t want to represent change,” says Picarello. “I want to represent progress.”
“My baseball team is the Village of Montgomery. If other towns and villages want to do whatever they want to do, that’s great for them,” says Hembury.
Montgomery’s village election is March 19.
Two residents are also running for village trustee, Kevin Conero, who was appointed last year, and challenger Cynthia Nokland.
Orange County has its own executive orders prohibiting asylum communities from housing its asylum seekers in the county.
Hembury says the village’s resolution allows local police to communicate with federal immigration authorities.


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