Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Illegal And Legal Migrant Crisis Continues In NY

June has been a wild and crazy month in politics and government in Albany. State elected officials wrapped up the legislative session with a lot of talking, and passing fewer two-house bills than last year. The Assembly had a tougher time wrapping up the session than the Senate, and had to adjourn for several days and return for a rare two-day session to complete the process of passing matching bills the Senate had completed during its marathon session and for the governor to sign the measures into law.


The governor was none too happy with the process and expressed her dissatisfaction during an unrelated news conference.

“Like all 839 [bills] to date, but probably approaching 1,000 bills, I’ll be looking at all bills very closely with my team, analyzing them and doing the right thing,” Governor Kathy Hochul told reporters during a news conference focused on gun-related violence in the state.

Breakfast for the migrants are shipped to the
hotel on a daily basis. The breakfast pictured includes
scrambled eggs, a tortilla and ham.

“The ideal process is to engage before it gets to a point where you are amending [a bill]. The legislature has their traditions, and 500 bills in the last week, that was a very high volume. I don’t remember being asked about 500 bills in the last week so I’ll say that method works for the legislature. That is what they do, but now it is upon me to give more thoughtful analysis from my end to make sure I’m making the best decision for the entire state of New York and not just their individual areas.”

Then Hochul landed another reason why she may veto certain bills with a fiscal implication, or sign a measure with the promise of fixing the language to comply with her wishes.

“I also have to be cognizant about the extraordinary cost that will be imposed on New York state taxpayers at a time when the warnings about our finances are troubling,” Hochul said. “We saw a reduction of $6 billion in the month of March from our normal tax receipts. We cannot ignore those. We have to make sure we manage our finances as well.”

The governor suffered a resounding defeat during the legislative session when the legislative leaders refused to agree to an affordable housing plan, which was a high priority for Hochul.

A migrant from Afghanistan,
has been at an
Albany hotel for two

New York was also hit hard by an influx of migrants from around the world, mostly from South America. Some of the migrants are being housed in hotels in Albany. I have met migrants who have language barriers and only speak Spanish, Creole or French. Migrants who I met, who are being housed in New York, are from Senegal, Haiti, Jordan, Venezuela and Colombia, among others. The migrants are fed three meals a day, sleep in comfortable hotel beds and get to use all of the hotels’ amenities free of charge. The government pays the hotel owners for the migrants’ stay. The meals are shipped to Albany from New York City and are not exactly the tastiest morsels but they suffice temporarily. The guests in Albany hotels are also accompanied by several security guards to make sure the migrants behave and don’t invade the space of the paying guests.

New York City and state officials are trying to find a more permanent place for the thousands of migrants sent to New York from Texas. Among the places being considered are a hangar at JFK International Airport, SUNY schools, abandoned prisons, and unused psychiatric centers, according to Hochul.


War of Words Erupts Among State Party Officials

Another brouhaha occurred during the last week of the session with the state Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs taking to task Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny (R – Brighton Beach, Brooklyn), both Jewish, about a comment Brook-Krasny made regarding transgender youth and the LGBTQ+ community. (June is Pride Month nationally.)

Jacobs called the comments, “hateful, divisive, and dangerous.” He claimed the remarks by the Assembly Republican “only adds to this epidemic” as the “suicide rates of transgender people are tragically high.”

Jacobs said, “He should know that disparaging anyone based upon who they love or how they identify is patently un-American.” Jacobs charged the Brooklyn Republican as “advocating against parents and guardians’ having legal custody over their children until they’re 18 years old.”

Jacobs’ comments brought a sharp rebuke from State Republican Party Chairman Ed Cox.

“Jay Jacobs and the New York State Democratic Party are desperately scrambling to punish defectors from the ever-shrinking southern Brooklyn Democratic Party. Assemblyman Brook-Krasny is a refugee from the former Soviet Union and he will not be intimidated by political persecution or baseless attacks by radical far-left ideologues. It is pathetic to watch New York Democratic Party officials resort to ad hominem attacks in the wake of an embarrassing performance at the ballot box last November. The Assemblyman will not be intimidated from speaking his mind on issues, especially ones that affect our children – like the integrity of women’s sports, or the potentially harmful impact of childhood gender reassignment surgeries.”

The State Conservative Party Chairman piled on with defending Brook-Krasny, calling this a “smear campaign by both the Bay Ridge and New York State Democratic parties as a result of his opposition to efforts in the state supporting gender reassignment surgery for minors. Alec’s view, shared by the majority of New Yorkers, should be respected and acted upon by any legislative body that calls itself representative.”


Jewish Lawmaker Vacates Assembly Seat

After five years representing his Queens constituents, Assemblyman Dan Rosenthal (D – Kew Gardens Hills) will be joining the UJA-Federation as Vice President for Government Relations beginning in August. He will be “overseeing key legislative priorities for UJA and the hundreds of nonprofits in its network,” according to a news release issued by the Federation.

The Assemblyman seemed to be a ubiquitous figure in his district. In this picture, he attended and spoke at the Queens-based Chazaq legislative reception in 2022.

Among his duties in his upcoming new position, “Daniel … will play a vital role helping UJA secure government support for critical communal needs – including security for Jewish institutions, funding for senior services and Holocaust survivors, safety net resources for the most vulnerable,” said Eric Goldstein, CEO of the UJA-Federation of New York. “Daniel also excels at bringing diverse communities together and this experience will be a huge asset to New Yorkers at a time of sharply rising antisemitism and hate crimes across our community.”

Rosenthal stated in the news release sent by the Federation:

“I’m honored to join UJA-Federation and further my commitment to public service. This is an extraordinary opportunity to continue helping those in need and I look forward to working with UJA’s nonprofit partners to help navigate the complexities of government and community affairs,” he said.

Rosenthal serves on the following committees: as chairman of the Task Force on Food, Farm and Nutrition Policy, and as a member of the committees on Aging, Health, Insurance, Labor, Real Property Taxation and Social Services.

Of the 21 bills Rosenthal sponsored this year, 17 bills, some with no Senate sponsor, went nowhere and were stuck in committee. Two bills were passed by the Assembly but went nowhere in the Senate. Rosenthal did have success on two of the 21 measures. Rosenthal had a 19 percent success rate getting bills passed in this year’s session.

There will soon be only one Rosenthal in the state Assembly. Retiring Assemblyman Dan Rosenthal (Left) and Linda Rosenthal (D – Upper West Side) were always on good terms with the outgoing Queens Democrat. The picture was taken at an Albany reception in 2018.

One of those bills requires colleges to do three improvements regarding campus crimes. Colleges will be mandated to post campus crime statistics on their website; to implement a plan to provide investigation of hate crimes on campus; and to inform incoming students about hate crime prevention measures. The bill passed both houses on May 16. Eventually, later this year, the bill will be sent to the governor for her approval or veto.

Another bill passed both houses on the last day of session. The measure makes technical changes to an insurance regulation: “Established by the Legislature in 1988, the Excess Line Association of New York, ELANY, which is financially self-sustaining, quickly became an indispensable component in the regulation of the excess line market. The excess line market is a small, but extremely important marketplace, which serves as an “incubator” for innovative insurance products, as well as a market for hard-to-place risks. Foremost among ELANY’s accomplishments has been its success in collecting and processing insurance data and monitoring the solvency of insurers in the excess line marketplace. These activities are of paramount importance to a properly functioning excess line market in New York,” according to the justification portion of the bill memo.

Based on his Assembly website biography, Rosenthal’s legislative priorities included “keeping Queens affordable and ensuring all residents have access to essential services.”

Rosenthal, 32, is a graduate of Lander College for Men. Since taking office he has married and started a family. He succeeded Michael Simanowitz, who passed away on September 2, 2017, at the age of 46.


Mezuzah or No Mezuzah on Office Doorposts?

Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi inherited a mezuzah on his doorpost from a previous member who occupied that office.

Of the 26 Jewish lawmakers in the Assembly and Senate, at last count, six boast their Jewish pride by posting a mezuzah on their doorpost in the Legislative Office Building in Albany. One non-Jewish Assemblyman, Andrew Hevesi (D – Forest Hills, Queens) has a mezuzah on his doorpost. When asked about it, he said it was probably left over from the previous occupant in the office. He surmises it was Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee (D – Suffern, Rockland County) who was defeated in 2020. Hevesi said he didn’t want to take down the mezuzah in fear he didn’t know what would happen, and out of respect for the religion.

The Albany office of Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny boasts a mezuzah. The office next door to Brook-Krasny belongs to Michael Novakhov, who says he is not affiliated with any congregation.

After inquiring with some Jewish legislators who don’t post a mezuzah as to why they don’t, one who is religious said that according to halacha, it is not necessary because the office is rent-free. Apparently, if you don’t pay for office space or if it is a temporary place for work, there is no need to affix a mezuzah. Legislators’ offices change every two years. Some halachic authoritie claim it couldn’t hurt to post a mezuzah on such office space as long as a blessing is not said. More detailed information about this issue is available at


Previous articlePalestinian Authority Threatening Bankruptcy But Won’t Stop Payments to Terrorists in Israeli Prisons
Next articleDavid Friedman: Biden Administration ’Embracing BDS’
Marc Gronich is the owner and news director of Statewide News Service. He has been covering government and politics for 44 years, since the administration of Hugh Carey. He is an award-winning journalist. His Albany Beat column appears monthly in The Jewish Press and his coverage about how Jewish life intersects with the happenings at the state Capitol appear weekly in the newspaper. You can reach Mr. Gronich at [email protected].