New York City, NY—Mayor Eric Adams of New York City revealed a bold plan on Monday to provide housing for up to 2,000 migrants on Randalls Island, located in the East River. The island previously hosted a migrant center last year, but it was closed down shortly after its establishment.
In a move to address the escalating number of asylum seekers arriving in the city, Mayor Adams announced that the state would reimburse the city for the cost of operating a tent city specifically dedicated to adult migrants on Randalls Island.
“As the number of asylum seekers in our care continues to grow by hundreds every day, stretching our system to its breaking point and beyond, it has become more and more of a Herculean effort to find enough beds every night,” said Adams, a Democrat, in a news release.
Adam said there are more than 57,200 asylum seekers under the city’s care.
Over the past year, the city has adopted various strategies to temporarily accommodate asylum seekers.
This includes renting hotels and converting locations like cruise ship terminals and former police academy buildings into housing facilities.
Last month, city officials announced their intent to house 1,000 migrants in the parking lot of a Queens State psychiatric hospital, further demonstrating the city’s commitment to assisting vulnerable individuals seeking refuge.
Recent developments indicate that city officials have begun utilizing recreation centers in two Brooklyn parks, McCarren and Sunset, as additional housing options for migrants.
The center was set up in October last year to address the surge of people arriving from southern border states. However, three weeks later, city officials announced its closure as the number of arrivals decreased.
The Influx of Asylum Seekers
On Jan. 10, 2023, Gov. Hochul delivered her State of the State speech without mentioning the crisis. Mayor Adams takes an information-gathering trip to the southern border and advocates for federal funding in Washington, D.C.
To accommodate the influx of asylum-seekers, Adams announces the opening of emergency centers and the establishment of a Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Center. Hochul pledges more than $1 billion in funding to support the city’s response to asylum-seekers.
The situation evolved with the Biden administration proposing a new immigration measure that assumes migrants are ineligible for asylum if they enter the U.S. illegally, leading to rapid deportations at border entries.
As the crisis continues, Adams unveils a new blueprint plan for the city’s path forward, which includes relocating some migrants to other cities and states and creating a new Office of Asylum-Seeker Operations.
The city faces financial challenges due to the ongoing costs associated with housing and providing services to asylum-seekers.
Despite challenges and opposition, the city opened a centralized welcome center for migrants at The Roosevelt Hotel in midtown Manhattan on May 19, 2023.
In addition, local representatives urge educational institutions to offer housing to asylum-seekers over the summer.