New York City Mayor Eric Adams declares state of emergency over asylum seeker crisis

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Friday, October 7, 2022
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CeFaan Kim has more on how the asylum seeker crisis is impacting NYC.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- The number of people in New York City shelters is setting new records daily amid the unyielding arrival of asylum seekers bused from Texas and elsewhere.

On Friday, New York Mayor Eric Adams declared a state of emergency and announced an executive order to suspend land use requirements to help the city cope with the influx of people.

Adams said he was "angry" the city's compassion was being "exploited by others for political gain" and what he called a "humanitarian crisis" the mayor said is being "accelerated by American politics dynamics."

There are 61,000 people currently in the shelter system, "straining our ability to care for New Yorkers in need," Adams said. He expects the city will have spent $1 billion by the end of the fiscal year.

RELATED | Eyewitness News special: Seeking Asylum in New York City

At least 5,500 migrant children have been enrolled in city schools.

"Although our compassion is limitless, our resources are not," Adams said during a speech from the City Hall Blue Room. "This is unsustainable."

Of the 61,000 people in shelters, 20,000 are children. One on five is an asylum seeker.

More than 17,000 asylum seekers have been bused to NYC. Five or six buses arrive each day, sometimes more.

Nine were expected at the Port Authority Bus Terminal Thursday, the highest number in a single day, the head of the city's Office of Emergency Management told members of the City Council.

Eyewitness News was there as two more buses arrived Friday morning.

Responding to a media report on the city's state of emergency, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said he will keep sending buses

"Sanctuary cities like New York City experience a FRACTION of what Texas border communities face every day," he said in a tweet. "We'll continue busing migrants to NYC, DC, & Chicago to relieve our overwhelmed border towns until Biden does his job to secure the border."

Adams' office issued the following response:

"We already proved Governor Abbott a liar last week. We're going to continue to trust the asylum seekers who are seeking a better life and not the politician who couldn't even tell the truth to his whole state during a debate."

Administration officials told elected leaders Thursday that they are considering large hotels and places of worship to temporarily house the asylum seekers.

Earlier this week, City Council members suggested the administration look at 10currently closed hotels.

The suggestion came after plans for a welcome center shifted from Orchard Beach to Randall's Island, a site that could only process half as many asylum seekers, leaving the city searching for additional space.

The administration has also been appealing to church and community groups this week for help, suggesting a kind "Adopt-A-Shelter" program where religious leaders collect donated items for asylum seekers and distribute them.

City officials say about a third of migrants want to head to another city or state.

Most of the migrants are from Venezuela and most of them want to head to Florida, but Texas is not offering free buses to Florida.

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