Illegal migrants in New York City have refused to move from a hotel in Hell’s Kitchen, after the city attempted to move them to a new shelter in Brooklyn.
More than 50 illegal migrants gathered outside the Watson Hotel on Sunday evening, when the hotel, which had been putting many of them up for weeks, refused to let them in. The plan, orchestrated by city authorities, was to move the men in the hotel to a new shelter at the Brooklyn Cruise terminal, making room in the hotel for migrant families.
Some of the migrants took off on a bus to the site, but others had returned after leaving for it previously. “Anyone who’s arrived there has immediately turned around and come back, and are warning their friends and comrades to not go there,” said Caitlin Baucom, a self-described “community activist” to PIX11 News.
A number of the men started putting tents up, preparing to stay outside the hotel for a prolonged period of time. Others put up signs and banners in English and Spanish, demanding an end to rent, and discrimination against migrants. “We just need some more hotels. I think in a city of 8 billion [sic], we can come up with a few more hotels,” said Reverend Chloe Breyer.
“This weekend, we began the process of moving single adult men from the Watson Hotel to Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, as we transition the hotel to meet the large number of asylum-seeking families with children,” said City Hall spokesman Fabien Levy in a statement.
“More than 42,000 asylum seekers have arrived in New York City since last spring, and we continue to surpass our moral obligations as we provide asylum seekers with shelter, food, health care, education, and a host of other services,” Levy continued.
“The facilities at Brooklyn Cruise Terminal will provide the same services as every other humanitarian relief center in the city, and the scheduled relocations to Brooklyn Cruise Terminal this weekend took place as planned,” the statement concluded. “We remain in serious need of support from both our state and federal governments.”
New York City workers eventually convinced some of the illegal migrants to partially dismantle their encampments outside the hotel so that a path could be made on the sidewalk, with reports suggesting that they would be allowed to stay there until at least Tuesday morning.
The move follows New York Mayor Eric Adams insisting earlier this month that there is simply “no more room” to house illegal migrants in the Big Apple.
“At the same time we’re going to continue to do our moral and legal obligation,” Adams added. “Whoever comes to the city – you’re not seeing individuals sleeping on the streets with families – because we’re continuing to pivot and shift as needed.”
This news and commentary by Jack Hadfield originally appeared on Valiant News.