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Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island open to visitors despite shutdown

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Derick Waller reports from Battery Park on Governor Cuomo's announcement.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island were open for visitors on Monday, with New York state picking up the tab for federal workers.

The two sites have been closed because of the government shutdown, which ended late Monday when President Trump signed a bill reopening the federal government.

Cuomo said the sites are vital to the state's tourism industry, so the state will spend about $65,000 per day for the federal employees who operate the sites. He says the revenue gained more than offsets the costs.

"The Statue of Liberty is a symbol of freedom and opportunity for all, and it is a gross injustice that this administration's dysfunction caused it to shut down. When this administration tries to deport immigrants, when they close down the Statue of Liberty, they are attacking who we are," Cuomo said. "New York will always stand up for the core values that make our nation truly great. New York State will not allow the vitriol of Washington to close the Statue of Liberty. "

New York had the same arrangement in 2013, during the last government shutdown.

Cuomo said the two sites have a major impact on the New York State economy, with 4.5 million people visiting Liberty Island in 2016, generating $263.2 million in visitor spending per year and supporting 3,400 jobs.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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