Capital Region asylum seekers told not to talk to media

CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) – During a news conference Tuesday, area and state officials pointed to the contractor, DocGo, paid by New York City to house and care for incoming asylum seekers placed at area motels. Lawmakers and directors of local organizations which help incoming migrants all say the process has been a mess.

NEWS10 reporter James De La Fuente caught up with Capital District Latinos, Regional Director, Micky Jimenez, as she was assisting some asylees with transportation needs.  NEWS10 was told to leave the property of a hotel that asylum seekers were living at. NEWS10 then witnessed security members tell the asylum seekers they could not talk to media.

“We dropped them off here. When we did, they were all shaken up because the security came out and told them that they had no rights to talk to us, and basically intimidated them by saying that if they spoke to us, they could not go back to the hotel,” said Jimenez.

NEWS10 left the property as security instructed. De La Fuente then spoke to a young woman with the group who said her mother was told she cannot leave the hotel to come talk to media, or she would be evicted.

“One woman was the mother of the ones that did arrive to us she was physically shaking, and she was told that if she returned that they will going to take her right away and basically let her out of the hotel environment immediately,” said Jimenez.

Colonie Town Supervisor, Peter Crummey, is troubled by these latest developments and says this entire process has been problematic from the start.  

NEWS10 reached out to other local community-based groups that could aid the asylees, they all said they too have heard of the intimidation tactics being used here, adding that they are ready and willing to help but are hesitant to act because they do not want to cross DocGo.

Daniel Butterworth, Executive Director at RISSE, says he has tried many times to help and has been turned away just as many.

“And we just need the access and the resources to be able to continue to do that, and make sure that we’re meeting basic human needs for all of these new folks,” said Butterworth.

After a full day of phone calls, late Tuesday night, DocGo sent NEWS10 a lengthy statement that they were unaware of the situation unfolding in the Capital Region. They go on to say that if they find these statements to be true, they say that is unacceptable and will take action.

DocGo also claims their last communication with Albany County Leaders was July 14 and that no one ever reached out to them after that.

Local law enforcement did confirm that the hotel said that they will not be evicting the asylees despite the fact of what NEWS10 witnessed. This is a developing story and NEWS10 will bring you all the latest as it unfolds.

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