Cuomo plans Friday trip to US Virgin Islands

Posted: Sep. 15, 2017 8:00 am Updated: Sep.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed an executive order barring state agencies from inquiring about someone's immigration status. He was there for a one-day visit.

The governor warned that the islands face "a long road to rebuild" but stressed that NY would stand with them.

He says he saw wrecked buildings and utility poles snapped "like twigs". On September 11, 10 UH-60 Blackhawk Helicopters and 55 soldiers from the New York Army National Guard's 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade deployed to assist in the Hurricane Irma response in Florida. "God forbid, something happens in NY, we'll have them on the first aircraft back".

More U.S. Virgin Islands residents were born in NY than another state in the nation, Cuomo's office said.

The New York national guard has been on the ground in St. John and St. Thomas, after the storm ravaged the islands last week.

The Democrat visited the Virgin Islands Friday to survey storm damage to better understand how NY can assist in the recovery.

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"We've seen buildings where two of the four walls were literally blown out, where the 160-mile-per-hour wind came right through the building and just emptied everything out of it", Cuomo said at a press conference in St. Thomas.

NY has already deployed Air National Guard aircraft and personnel to the islands to help with search and rescue. 124 Airmen from the 106th Rescue Wing of the New York National Guard were deployed to Texas following Hurricane Harvey and separately to Puerto Rico following Hurricane Irma.

The trip likely will fuel speculation about Cuomo's interest in running for president in 2020.

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Gov. Cuomo said the damage inflicted on the U.S. Virgin Islands by Hurricane Irma was "much worse" than that suffered by the mainland United States.

Cuomo departed Friday morning for the Caribbean islands and plans return home in the evening.

NY has already deployed Air National Guard aircraft and personnel to the islands to help with search and rescue. I want to thank the Governor, who has extensive experience in post storm recovery both from his time as HUD Secretary and as New York State Governor in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, for partnering with us in the huge task we have ahead.

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