College students to help NYC migrants file asylum claims

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Thursday, August 3, 2023
NYC officials announce plan for students to help asylum seekers
College students will help migrants flooding New York City file their asylum claims, city officials announced Wednesday morning. Josh Einiger has the story.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- College students will help migrants flooding New York City file their asylum claims, city officials announced Wednesday morning.

The announcement came at Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom's weekly briefing, with New York University Interim Provost Georgina Dopico also on hand.

The partnership with NYU, Columbia University School of Social Work and CUNY campuses, including Hunter College School of Social Work, will help the asylum seekers navigate the complicated progress.

The students will get credit for the work. A massive backlog in city immigration courts for asylum cases could take years to resolve.

WATCH: Update on NYC migrant crisis from city officials

The city's announcement came on the one-year anniversary of the first bus of asylum seekers arriving in New York City.

Since then, as many as 93,000 asylum seekers have arrived here. About 50,000 remain in the city's care.

At first, Mayor Eric Adams welcomed them. But he has since said the city is now overwhelmed, with limited room to house them, and not enough money.

"It's so important that we look at the severity of what we're dealing with," Mayor Adams said during an unannounced visit to Roosevelt Hotel on Wednesday night. "When you look at 100,000 people here, who need housing, clothing. And no one is really getting the help that we should be doing on a national level. And that's New York City. We got to make sure we continue to process as many people as possible, but this is not sustainable."

Advocates say there is little support at the federal level and poor coordination at the local level.

"It boggles my mind why the Biden Administration would not step in with space coordination," said NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.

"It's unconscionable a crisis like this here," said NYC Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Manuel Castro. "We are doing this on our own."

Separately, the city is once again looking at Randall's Island for temporary housing of asylum seekers, this time focusing on the soccer fields at the facility and other fields across the city.

The city announced two weeks ago that it will now limit shelter stays for single adult asylum seekers to 60 days and has moved 600 people out so far, up from 100 just last week.

Meanwhile, the line of migrants outside the Roosevelt Hotel in Midtown Manhattan has gotten shorter, even as city officials continue to call on the federal government for help.

City Hall blames the White House. The White House blames Congress. And in the end, a year into this crisis, things are only getting worse.

ALSO READ | Line of migrants sleeping outside stretches around Roosevelt Hotel's Midtown block

The Mayor's Office says more than 93,000 asylum seekers have come through the city's intake system since last spring. Sonia Rincon has more.


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