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—many 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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