Eric Adams plans free college upstate for 100 NYC migrants

In the latest sign there’s no end in sight to President Biden’s border crisis, Mayor Eric Adams now wants New York taxpayers to foot the bill for migrants to go to college!

Adams plans to provide as many as 100 migrants with 12 months of classes, room and board in upstate Sullivan County — and the project could continue indefinitely, The Post has learned.

The pilot program — to be overseen by Adams’ newly created city agency, the Office of Asylum Seeker Operations —  involves both SUNY Sullivan community college in tiny Loch Sheldrake and The Center for Discovery, a special education school in nearby Harris.

The cost to taxpayers hasn’t been disclosed but will likely exceed $1.2 million in the first year, based on the price tag for two semesters at SUNY Sullivan alone.

“The mayor’s office is giving us money for things like supplies for people to live on, and the dorms and food,” said spokesman Michael Rosen of The Center for Discovery.

“Mayor Adams is making a permanent welfare system for illegal immigrants in New York State,” upstate Rep. Elise Stefanik, the House Republican Conference chair, said in blasting the plan.

Mayor Eric Adams and migrants at a Brooklyn shelter.
Mayor Eric Adams at a shelter for migrants in Red Hook, Brooklyn, on Feb. 3.

“By spending New Yorkers’ hard-earned taxpayer dollars on college classes for migrants, he is incentivizing and rewarding illegal immigration simply to export the crisis of Democrats’ own making out of New York City,” Stefanik added.

City Council Minority Leader Joe Borelli (R-Staten Island) said, “I guess this is about as clear as we can get that the Biden administration is not helping us at all — and that it’s simply on us to set these people up for the rest of their lives in the US.”

The SUNY Sullivan campus.
Adams plans to send 100 migrants to take classes and get job training at SUNY Sullivan in Loch Sheldrake, NY.
Hans Pennink

Migrants arrive in New York City.
Migrants arrive at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan on Jan. 4
Gregory P. Mango

State Sen. George Borrello (R-Jamestown), echoed his fellow Republicans and accused the Democratic mayor of “essentially institutionalizing programs for people who are not citizens of this country and making them part of the welfare state.”

“New York City is trying to spread the burden throughout the state,” Borrello said. Adams has an accomplice with Gov. Kathy Hochul. They are basically covering for Biden’s failure to control the southern border.”

Mayor Eric Adams.
Adam announces his creation of the Office of Asylum Seeker Operations at City Hall on Tuesday.
Paul Martinka

In Loch Sheldrake, news of Adams’ program sparked controversy among local residents, with Raj Patel, 49, saying, “Do I want it? Probably not.”

“It’s a nice, quiet town and we don’t know who these people are,” said Patel, who owns the Loch Sheldrake Wine and Liquor store and a local Gulf gas station. “They could be criminals, they could be drug dealers. They have no documentation.”

Patel, who’s from India, added: “I’m an immigrant. I came here legally. Nobody gave me anything. I wanted to go to college, but I started working and never stopped working.

“It seems unfair to me that you give free housing and a free college education to people just because you need a place to put them,” he said.

Raj Patel.
“Do I want it? Probably not,” business owner Raj Patel said of Adams’ migrant education program.
Hans Pennink

In addition to the SUNY Sullivan plan, Adams said this week that he’s in talks with unspecified “cities within the state and across the country that are saying they want to help” resettle some of the Big Apple’s migrants.

Hizzoner declared a state of emergency over the city’s migrant crisis in October and as of Wednesday, city officials had processed more than 50,700 migrants since the spring, with 31,100-plus living in at least 101 emergency shelters at a cost of $4.6 million a day.

The total tab to taxpayers is projected to reach $4.2 billion by the middle of next year.

Adams’ education program is set to start in the spring, with the migrants living on the SUNY campus and learning English, American culture and personal finance at its Sullivan County Community College, Rosen said.

The migrants in Adams’ program will take classes in English, American culture and personal finance at SUNY’s Sullivan County Community College, Rosen said.

Michael Rosen.
Michael Rosen, spokesman for The Center for Discovery in upstate Harris, NY.
Facebook/Michael Rosen

They’ll also get concurrent training for jobs in fields including healthcare, culinary arts and farming.

“We’re hoping that they would find an interest in that work after the year is up, but they’re free to do whatever they want or go back to the city,” Rosen said.

The total cost hasn’t been determined, Rosen said, but if it proves successful, Adams “does want to see private philanthropy involved, as well, to keep this going as long as we want this to go.”

The dean of communications and admissions at SUNY Sullivan, Eleanor Davis, said that “this has been discussed for some time” since migrants began surging into New York City last year.

Migrants arrive in New York City.
A migrant family arrives at the Port Authority Bus Terminal on Sept. 6.
Robert Miller

But Davis said Adams “caught us a little bit by surprise” when he included a brief description of the “partnership” in a 25-page brochure Tuesday about his Office of Asylum Seeker Operations.

“We weren’t prepared for the press release to come out. The mayor kind of scooped us,” she said.

Davis said the single adult migrants — all of whom will be specially selected and screened — would “remain New York City residents.”

Migrants outside a Brooklyn shelter.
Migrant men leave the Red Hook, Brooklyn shelter on Feb. 4.
J.C. Rice

SUNY Sullivan’s rates for tuition, fees, room and board now total about $12,000 for a full-time, “in-state” student living in a two-bed dorm room.

Most of the migrants will live on campus while they’re enrolled in “micro-credential programs at the college,” with the rest living at The Center for Discovery, Davis said.

“They’ll be coming up here as students do — to live in our dorms and take, in many cases, one-year credentialing classes and workforce training,” she said. “The Center for Discovery would be bringing in staff and transportation to support this. We are really just working with them on this.”

SUNY spokeswoman Holly Liapis said the program ” is currently expected to begin this fall, and we look forward to reviewing initial results.”

“We are excited about the pilot and applaud SUNY Sullivan for working with New York City to provide asylum seekers with a path toward rewarding careers — especially in healthcare where there is a shortage of professionals,” Liapis added.

A dormitory on the SUNY Sullivan campus.
Hans Pennink

Issam Edwan, the owner of the Catskills Arms gun store, said, “My concern is the security issue.”

“Is this guy a criminal? Did he commit a massacre somewhere else and now he’s trying to pass the border?” Edwan said. “If he’s a refugee who really needs to be protecting the United States of America and he took all the risks to come in and we can afford it, by all means.

“But if somebody did something wrong and he’s slipping through and he becomes a major problem, now I’m concerned about him when he comes to Sullivan County,” he said.

Edwan added: “What if they don’t want to take classes? What if they fail, and decide they just want to live here and do business? It’s going to be distracting for everybody, especially there. I know that college. It’s not a place to house migrants.”

“My concern is the security issue,” gun store owner Issam Edwan said.
Hans Pennink

Axel Robinson, a barber at the First Stop Barber Shop, called Adams’ plan “a double-edged sword.”

“Is it the best situation? No. But would we rather have these people on the streets?” he said. “As long as they’re supporting the community and doing something good with it, I’m all for it.”

Robinson, 32, added: “I’m not personally one for giving handouts to people who are not going to do anything with the opportunity…But we’re also talking about humans here.

Robinson added: “I’m not personally one for giving handouts to people who are not going to do anything with the opportunity, but we’re also talking about humans here. We’re talking about people, humans who need a place to eat and a place to stay.

“And if we as people can’t do that, then that shows a lot about our society.”

“We’re talking about people, humans who need a place to eat and a place to stay,” barber Axel Robinson said.
Hans Pennink

A SUNY Sullivan student who identified herself as Jessica, 25, said, “I think it’s a great way to give a second chance to people who are really down on their luck.”

“I see these people on the news and it’s heartbreaking. They’ve left everything behind but the clothes on their back,” she said. “I think they should all have an opportunity to succeed and become contributing members of society and I think it’s great that SUNY is giving them that opportunity.”

City Hall declined to comment.

Additional reporting by Bernadette Hogan