NYC Migrants Rally Against Relocation Plans at Watson Hotel
New York City is facing a breaking point as more than 41,000 asylum seekers have entered the city since last spring and 28,000 are currently in need of care. Mayor Eric Adams announced on Saturday that the city is temporarily converting Brooklyn Cruise Terminal into a shelter and services hub for these asylum seekers. While the city is using hotels as a better short-term option than erecting tents in inaccessible parts of the city, the Watson Hotel in Midtown Manhattan has been the main source of housing. However, the city has been attempting to move single adult men from the hotel to the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal to make room for more families.
This caused an uproar late Sunday night, as the migrants refused to leave the hotel and instead rallied outside the building alongside migrant activists. The migrants who were non-compliant in the city’s relocation spent the night outside the hotel and were seen holding their ground into Monday morning. After arriving at the new center, several migrants quickly departed and returned to the Watson Hotel, citing a lack of heat and inadequate bathroom facilities at the location.
The Legal Aid Society and the Coalition for the Homeless released a joint statement on the crisis, saying, “Continuing to move asylum seekers around the boroughs like chess pieces is callous and indicative of City Hall’s failure to competently manage this crisis. Hotels have always been the better short-term option, in contrast to erecting tents in inaccessible parts of New York City that are prone to flooding.”
Mayor Adams has said that the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal will now house the migrants and that the federal government has an obligation to providing assistance, as this is a humanitarian crisis. However, Adams also said that he does not believe asylum seekers fall under the city’s Right to Shelter law that mandates the city provide a bed to anyone seeking one. Activist groups have strongly disagreed with this statement, arguing that the conditions created by the city for migrants staying on Randall’s Island violate regulations. As the stand-off continues, campaign groups have been appealing on Twitter for people to bring blankets and bedding for the migrants, and many have been donating food and tents to those camping outside the Watson Hotel.
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