More than 50 migrants camped outside the Watson Hotel in Manhattan in protest on Sunday night as the city sought to move the single male migrants to a new shelter at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal to make space for migrant families.
The new shelter holds as many as 1,000 single adult men and provides the same services the migrants had been receiving, city officials told the New York Post. The shelter is the fifth Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Center to open in the city since last year.
Several migrants went to the shelter over the weekend before returning to the hotel to sleep outside last night, saying the shelter had no heat, privacy or blankets, according to reports.
One activist told the New York Post that the migrants feel the shelter is “not livable.”
More than a dozen police officers responded to the hotel on Sunday around 10 p.m. to provide crowd control, though fewer remained after midnight, according to the report. Activists from South Bronx Mutual Aid offered food, water and translation services.
The migrants hung a banner calling for permanent housing and to “cancel rent.”
A spokesperson for Mayor Eric Adams said the city continues to “surpass our moral obligations” in caring for the influx of migrants.
“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,” spokesperson Fabien Levy told the New York Post.
“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,” Levy added. “We remain in serious need of support from both our state and federal governments.”
Earlier this month, Adams traveled to El Paso, Texas, to raise awareness of the growing problems at the border.
“[W]hen I took the trip to El Paso, you could see firsthand the impact of how it not only harms the foundation of El Paso, but look at Chicago, Houston, Washington, New York City,” Adams told MSNBC.
“This is just unfair for cities to carry the weight of a national problem,” he added.
Asked whether he had any constructive conversations about “bringing more order to the border” with the Biden administration, Adams said: “I was told that we have an individual that’s coordinating the operation, and as I shared with White House officials, why don’t I know who that is?”