With New York City still receiving busloads of foreign nationals who have illegally entered the country, Mayor Eric Adams has announced the city will set up massive tent structures to provide shelter for those individuals.
Adams, in a statement, said the tents will be the “first touchpoint for asylum seekers,” with officials providing a litany of services for them. He added that it is not like the city’s homeless crisis but instead compared it to the immigrants who came to Ellis Island on boats more than a century ago.
The city plans on buses to go directly to the tent communities or be directed there by the Port Authority. The new arrivals will receive information about health care, safety and their legal rights.
“We need to assess and address asylum seekers’ needs as soon as they arrive and connect them with services as quickly as possible,” Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Philip Banks said. “The relief centers will be a crucial piece of our overall response to help these asylum seekers get their necessary assistance.”
Those who do not or cannot find a place to stay will be allowed to stay in climate-controlled tents. Images from the city’s announcement show dozens of cots lined up in rows. The city said those would be for single individuals, and other options would be made available for families.
Murad Awawdeh, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, called Adams' plan "ridiculous."
“These centers will provide services such as wellness checks and temporary shelter when individuals and families first come to the city,” Department of Emergency Management (NYCEM) Commissioner Zach Iscol said. “This is a true interagency effort, and we look forward to continuing this work with our partner agencies to ensure asylum seekers are receiving the resources they need after a long and difficult journey.”