New York City Council holds special hearing on asylum seekers bused from Texas

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Tuesday, August 9, 2022
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The New York City Council held a special hearing to look at conditions in the city's homeless shelters and the recent influx of asylum seekers.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- The New York City Council held a special hearing Tuesday to look at conditions in the city's homeless shelters and the recent influx of asylum seekers that Mayor Eric Adams say are overwhelming the system.

Still, Adams says the city wants to do its part.

The city's Immigrant Affairs and Social Services commissioners briefed council members on the efforts their offices are making to accommodate the wave of immigrants arriving at Port Authority Bus Terminal after a long cross-country trip.

Critics, including Adams, have condemned the actions of Texas Governor Greg Abbott as a cruel political stunt.

City officials have insisted that some of the migrants don't want to be in New York City and were sent against their wishes.

Regardless, the influx is taking a toll on the Social Services infrastructure.

Immigration is nothing new for New York City, but officials say what's happening now is unprecedented.

"What is new now is the systematic diversion of asylum seekers and immigrants to New York City by external forces, including by the disgusting, cruel and cowardly actions of Texas Governor Greg Abbott," Immigration Commissioner Manuel Castro told the City Council.

Officials said another bus is expected to arrive Tuesday, with three more set to arrive Wednesday.

"We are leaving no stone unturned to support the unprecedented number of asylum seekers arriving each day," Social Services Commissioner Gary P. Jenkins said. "Just last week, the city announced a declaration of emergency for asylee services and shelter, which will allow us to rapidly procure services specifically designed to support this community in need."

There is currently a 1% vacancy rate in New York City's shelter system, and 11 emergency hotel rooms are expected to be opened to handle the influx.

Abbott is sending migrant families to Democrat-run cities as a way to pressure President Joe Biden to crack down at the border.

Officials in New York say the Department of Homeless Services cannot legally turn anyone away who wants shelter, but they are struggling to meet the demand.

Adams says he's optimistic that help will come from the federal government.

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