Preparations underway to turn part of JFK Airport into temporary shelter for migrants

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Friday, June 2, 2023
Preparations underway to turn part of JFK Airport into temporary shelter for migrants
Chantee Lans has more on the latest plan to help find temporary shelter for asylum seekers.

JAMAICA, Queens (WABC) -- An unused hangar at John F. Kennedy Airport is being readied to serve as the city's latest facility for asylum seekers.

The opening of Building 197 to migrants, which has been discussed for days by Gov. Kathy Hochul, is pending FAA approval.

The city has already begun bringing in cots and bathroom and shower trailers to the site, which is expected to hold as many as 1,000 people.

"We're also looking at space at JFK, looking at a hangar there, waiting for federal approval," Hochul said on Tuesday.

The hangar was most recently used by the U.S. Postal Service as an overflow facility.

The move comes as the city scrambles to find space to house the asylum seekers with no end in sight to the migrant surge.

On Thursday, city officials opened a former jail in Harlem to serve as a temporary shelter for up to 500 migrants.

There are now at least seven respite centers in the city as Mayor Eric Adams said the city still has more than 45,000 migrants in its care.

"If you had a hurricane that hit this shore, you would be managing using school buildings, respite centers," Adams said. "That's the crisis. We are getting a hurricane every week. I must manage this crisis the right way."

City officials say only a small fraction of migrants have actually filed for asylum. That's why some, including Comptroller Brad Lander, are calling for a boost in funding for migrant legal services.

He says more than 99% of the money spent has gone to emergency shelters with less than 1% going toward legal assistance.

ALSO READ | Adams, Hochul call on White House for expedited work authorizaton for NYC asylum seekers

The mayor made the same call back in April, prior to Title 42's expiration, when he said that denying migrants the chance to legally work sets them up for failure. Anthony Carlo re


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