“On almost every corner of Westchester County the issue of immigration remains a topic.  It is a complex and pressing challenge for our County, State and Nation. As I have long maintained, it is crucial that we address this challenge with compassion and respect for the rights and dignity of individuals seeking refuge in our Country. Therefore, I am renewing my call for the establishment of a Federal Field Immigration Court to handle asylum-seekers right here in Westchester County.

The ongoing management of migrants within Westchester County has been effective, and it is with this success in mind that we propose the establishment of this local court. The purpose of the Field Court would be to adjudicate applications for asylum by immigrants who have come to Westchester County seeking protection. By providing a local venue for processing these applications, we can ensure that individuals receive due process and fair consideration of their claims in a timely manner right in the County where they are temporarily located. 

Our primary goal, one we all share, is to alleviate the strain on existing immigration courts and help reduce the substantial backlog of asylum cases. To staff the Field Court effectively, if additional staff is needed, I recommend the recruitment of retired judges and individuals with legal experience. This practice mirrors our approach during the COVID-19 pandemic when we enlisted retired doctors and nurses, which had a significant impact. In this case, these dedicated professionals can help reduce the backlog of applications, ensuring that cases are processed in a timely manner while upholding the integrity of the asylum process.

Here in Westchester County we have effectively managed migrant placements with dignity, respect and safety in the forefront.  I have long maintained that our approach to immigration should reflect our nation's core values of compassion, fairness and respect for human rights. That is why, I believe we need to establish a Federal Field Immigration Court to handle asylum-seekers right here in Westchester County. I renew my call and invite other elected officials to join in this advocacy.”