NYC: island emergency camp for asylum seekers

Randall's Island

New York City workers have started erecting a series of sprawling tents in vacant parking lots on¬†Randall’s Island, between the East and Harlem rivers, to house undocumented migrants and¬†asylum-seekers. The so-called “Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Centers” are to hold some 500, officially for no more than five days. At least two more tent cities are planned, with¬†Orchard Beach¬†in the Bronx named as another possible location.¬†Gov. Kathy Hochul has ordered National Guard troops to help staff the centers. Since the spring, some¬†17,000 asylum-seekers have arrived in New York‚ÄĒmany¬†sent to the city on buses by authorities in Texas. The city has already opened 42 emergency shelters to deal with¬†the influx, and on Oct. 7 Mayor Eric Adams¬†declared a state of emergency.

“This is a humanitarian crisis that started with violence and instability in South America and is being accelerated by American political dynamics,” said Adams in announcing the emergency declaration. “Our right-to-shelter laws, our social services, and our values are being exploited by others for political gain.” (Gothamist, Gothamist,¬†NYP, NY1)

On Oct. 13, activist groups held a protest against the “tent city” plan at City Hall, led by Housing Justice for All, New York Communities for Change, and Make the Road New York.¬†State¬†Sen.¬†Jabari Brisport, speaking at the rally, said: “To Mayor Adams and his administration,¬†I say, winter is coming¬†and tents are not housing.¬†We must use creative solutions, we must use hotels, we must use whatever we can to get people into housing that can actually shelter them.” (AMNY)

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