The path of migrants crossing the Mexican border into Texas to seek asylum in the U.S. has now reached Montgomery.
Justin Rodriguez, Assistant for Communications and Media Relations to Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus, confirmed that two planes, carrying migrants have landed at Orange County Airport in Montgomery in recent weeks.
“We received a flight from Texas on Friday September 30 at approximately 5:50 p.m.,” said Orange County Airport Director Ed Magryta in a statement released by the county executive’s office. “The aircraft was a scheduled charter flight under FAA Part 135. This the second charter from Texas in recent weeks. Approximately 30 - 35 passengers disembarked the aircraft onto two vehicles (bus and van) and departed the airport. The destination of the buses is unknown.”
Magryta said the airport handled these flights in a similar fashion as all charter operations.
“Fuel was onloaded and applicable fees were paid,” Magryta said. “We have no legal authority to stop a US registered/ chartered aircraft from landing at a public use airport. Aircraft registry and Part 135 operations are under the jurisdiction of the FAA.”
Neuhaus said he was made aware of the flight on Friday, when he received a call from the Orange County Emergency Management office. He joined law enforcement officials, including Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler, at the airport. He said the passengers were young women under the age of 17. He was told they would have a number of stops where they would be taken care of.
Neuhaus said he purchased meals for the young women at the local McDonalds, before escorting their bus to Route 84.
“To my knowledge. I heard some are going up north, some were going across the river,” Neuhaus said, but none were staying in Orange County.
The County Executive complained that things are being done by the Federal government in a clandestine and secret manner.
“I don’t know where the Federal officials are,” Neuhaus said. “Somebody needs to be really forthcoming and honest as American citizens.”
The flights drew the ire of Assemblyman Colin J. Schmitt (R-C New Windsor) who said they were commissioned by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
“The secret migrant flights, often in the dead of night, are both fundamentally wrong and causing a humanitarian crisis. In an effort to conceal these migrant flights from the public and local officials, the Biden Administration has rerouted them to Orange County Airport in Montgomery, NY, in the heart of our community. This type of secrecy by the federal government, as well as the policy itself, is entirely unacceptable,” said Schmitt. “These flights are a public safety risk and cause an extremely untenable situation for our local law enforcement. No local governments or law enforcement agencies had been notified of these flights. No medical alerts or screenings were provided for possible health impacts. It also appears the unaccompanied minors involved in this relocation were not adequately fed on their journey and may have been lacking basic personal care supplies.”
Previously, Schmitt complained about flights bringing migrants from the Texas border to Westchester County Airport and New York Stewart International Airport.
More recently, flights funded by the State of Florida delivered migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts in what has widely been criticized as an attention-grabbing political maneuver by Gov. Ron DeSantis.