NYPD tells asylum seekers camped out in Midtown to leave as lawmakers head to Brooklyn to tour new shelter


NEW YORK — Controversy continues to brew over the city’s decision to move asylum seekers from the Watson Hotel in Midtown to the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal.

On Wednesday, City Council members visited the new facility.

But what do the men who have moved there think?

The lawmakers joined in on the chorus of calls, criticizing the living conditions inside the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal — the new home to 1,000 asylum seekers.

“The city of New York is trying to discourage people from staying in their care and that’s why they have set up this kind of congregate facility in the way that they have,” Councilman Lincoln Restler said.

READ MOREAsylum seekers camped outside Watson Hotel say they want to hear from Mayor Eric Adams directly

For days, the city has struggled to convince those staying at the hotel in Midtown to move to Red Hook so that hotel rooms can be given to families.

Many have refused, choosing to camp out in the cold in front of the Watson while arguing the new shelter is isolated, lacking in transportation, with cots stacked head to toe.

CBS2’s Ali Bauman witnessed NYPD officers outside the Watson Hotel on Wednesday night telling those who were still staying on the sidewalk to pack up and leave.

Asylum seekers CBS2 spoke to in Brooklyn on Wednesday said they adjusted just fine.

“A single man can go anywhere, sleep anywhere, eat whatever, but with a kids, it’s a different matter,” said Oscar Marin of Colombia.

The city has been fighting the negative reaction by posting videos and pictures of the facility, reiterating there’s nearly 100 toilets, controlled temperature, hot showers, and three meals per day.

Mayor Eric Adams is accusing some bad actors of spreading misinformation.

“The overwhelming number of them move. From my analysis about 30 are still there, and I’m not even sure they are migrants. There are some agitators that just really … I think is doing a disservice to the migrants,” Adams said.

READ MOREMayor Adams’ plan to use Brooklyn Cruise Terminal as emergency shelter for asylum seekers faces backlash

But advocates say it’s no surprise why people would be upset.

“Nobody wants to be sleeping with 999 people in the same room. I think it’s a very difficult position to be put into, especially for clients who have undergone a lot of trauma,” said Kathryn Kliff, attorney at the Legal Aid Society.

Activists and council members say there’s no reason the city can’t open up more hotels for the asylum seekers, adding the move to Brooklyn is adding to their trauma.


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