New York City braces for influx of migrants as Title 42 expires

"I understand the angst, because I have it as well. But we have to coordinate this," said Public Advocate Jumaane Wiliams.

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Friday, May 12, 2023
More buses arrive in NYC as city braces for strain on shelter system
The number of migrants trying to enter the United States could dramatically increase after Thursday night's expiration of Title 42. Jim Dolan has more.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- New York City officials are bracing for the arrival of more migrants and Mayor Eric Adams is pleading for help as he looks for places to house the new arrivals.

The number of migrants trying to enter the United States could dramatically increase after Thursday night's expiration of Title 42.

And that is sparking concern in the Tri-State area.

Officials have said hundreds of migrants per day could start arriving in New York City Friday, straining the already over-burdened shelter system.

And indeed, as if on cue, two more buses of asylum seekers did arrive at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan shortly after dawn.

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and others were on hand to greet them and help them get assistance as Williams called for a better response at all level of government.

"We have a responsibility," he said. "I understand the angst, because I have it as well. But we have to coordinate this - city, state and federal level. And right now, that's not happening."

He asked President Biden to step up and not to "ignore NYC, we can't handle this on our own."

Gov. Kathy Hochul also called on Biden Friday to mobilize the federal government to provide shelter for migrants arriving in New York City. She is asking the Biden administration to identify federal land to house asylum seekers, like "spaces on military installations, including naval resources, in and across the Northeast."

Hochul specifically asked to use a portion of Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, which is federally owned and part of the National Park Service under the Gateway National Recreation Area.

"With Title 42 officially rescinded, and the anticipated weeks-long construction process it would take to construct temporary shelters, I ask for this request to be granted immediately," she said.

According to volunteers, the latest buses to arrive in New York City on Friday came from Laredo, Texas. Many of the asylum seekers made the journey from places like Venezuela, Ecuador and Colombia.

As the city faces a strain on resources, including its shelter system, one of the biggest challenges is where to house the incoming migrants. It's unclear where the group that arrived Friday will head next.

There have been heated conversations between Mayor Eric Adams and county executives in Rockland and Orange counties about where to house them, but part of Adams' plan is to relocate migrants to the Hudson Valley.

And on Thursday, two buses showed up at a hotel in Newburgh, Orange County. A third one arrived on Thursday night.

"We were told this wasn't going to happen and now it ends up happening and there's no information.. we know nothing about the individuals," the Orange County executive said.

There are now 82 asylum seekers at the hotel, more than the 60 that the city previously told them the county would receive.

The Crossroads Hotel told the county it is booked for four months, and canceled all previous reservations for that period of time -- including those for the upcoming West Point graduation.

Rockland County and Orangetown have filed temporary restraining orders to prevent migrants from arriving -- for now. And the Town of Newburgh has filed a restraining order against the owner of the Crossroads Hotel.

The situation has forced a war of words between Adams and Rockland County Executive Ed Day.

"This guy has a record of being antisemitic, racist comments...his thoughts and how he responded to this really shows a lack of leadership," Adams said. "I thought he was the Texas governor with the way he acted."

Day responded by saying, "The mayor can call me every name in the book to deflect the reality of this former officer's clear disregard for our laws. His belief that he is above the local and state law speaks volumes about the character of Mayor Adams."

Legal action in Orange County and Newburgh are pending.

Meanwhile, the New York Civil Liberties Union filed a countersuit on Thursday and Adams is also vowing to fight the legal challengers.

RELATED | Migrant surge as United States prepares for end of Title 42 policy linked to coronavirus pandemic


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