Demonstrators protest Democrats as NYC migrant crisis heats up
Groups of demonstrators showed up expressing frustration about the massive flow of migrants coming in from the southwest border NYC’s mandate to offer them food and housing
September 18, 2023 8:47am
Updated: September 18, 2023 9:54am
Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Jerry Nadler, Adriano Espaillat, Nydia Velazquez and of New York gathered outside the Roosevelt Hotel in midtown with other lawmakers who represent the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, to express their frustration amid tens of thousands of asylum-seekers who are now living in New York City.
The famous 45th Street hotel been transformed into temporary housing for migrants.
Groups of demonstrators showed up expressing frustration about the massive flow of migrants coming in from the southwest border NYC’s mandate to offer them food and housing.
The protestors became so loud at one point, it was difficult for the Democratic representatives to be heard.
“Close the border!" one man shouted into a megaphone while other demonstrators cried, “Send them back!”
While the protest captured the attention of news media, it is not the first of its kind.
New York City has had a spike in similar protests ever since former NYPD chief turned mayor, Eric Adams, a Democrat, admitted the migrant problem "will destroy New York City.”
Staten Island, known for being the most conservative of all the New York City boroughs had a similar protest on Thursday. Another one took place outside the Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, where many migrants are being sheltered.
The demonstrations continue to erupt as New York City faces its most significant influx of migrants. More than 100,000 border crossers have come to New York City to seek asylum, many of whom entered through the southwest Texan border.
While some of the migrants have continued their travels once they cross the border into places like El Paso, many of them have been relocated by Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who started inviting migrants into buses to send them to New York and other Democratic-run areas, including Chicago and Los Angeles.
The Lonestar governor said he made the decision based on the high number of migrants crossing the border, insisting it was only fair to redistribute the load being placed on difference cities and states.
El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser, a Democrat has echoed Abbott’s concerns saying his border city can only handle so much migrant flow and that it has taken a significant toll on the town’s infrastructure.
Last year, Leeser declared a state of emergency as cold temperatures swept across the Lonestar state out of concern for the migrant’s physical health and safety.
Adams has lashed out at Abbott’s relocations, saying they are unwelcome and that the receiving cities should have some say, but Abbott has stood by his decision.
While more than 100,000 border crossers have come to New York City to seek asylum in total so far, the monthly flow is estimated at about 10,000.
The number of estimated people needing housing and each night in city shelters has exceeded 80,000 a night.
The city has been forced to deal with the situation instead of turning the migrants away because of a decades old NYC mandate enacted in 1981 that requires the city to offer shelter to anyone in need.
The newly elected mayor and former top cop has been trying to get the mandate repealed, saying the city has been left with little choice to do otherwise.
Adams’ office has said that NYC has proactively opened more than 200 emergency shelters to handle the incoming migrant flow, forcing the city to spend more than $2 billion so far.
The group of Democratic lawmakers who were speaking on Friday had just finished touring the midtown based Roosevelt Hotel, once revered as a high end Central Park West location.
While they were visiting, the Democratic lawmakers from Congress met with city officials to talk about the problem and also meet with those running the asylum-seeking facilities.
After the news conference, Velazquez said the lawmakers were impressed by the city’s efforts and that the migrants were being taken care of.
"They have mental health services, health care services, children are being kept busy playing," she said.
Adams has asked for more federal support in an escalating back and forth with federal and state officials over who should be responsible for managing the growing number of people in need of housing, medical and financial assistance upon arrival,” he said, according to a report published by NBC News.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and the mayor have both asked for migrants to get work permits.
The U.S. recently sent a team to determine what recommendations could be made, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told MSNBC Monday. As a result, DHS is now “executing on those recommendations in close partnership with the city.”
Some of those suggestions include informing migrants how to eventually leave the shelter system and get work authorization to pursue their asylum claims.
Many of the migrants who have come to the U.S. lawfully have done so because of the new humanitarian parole program for a limited number of migrants from Cuba, Haiti, Venezuela and Nicaragua.
They have used the CBP One app, and could be eligible to work.
That issue arose during Friday’s news conference as officials discussed about also offering Temporary Protected Status to Venezuelans, who make up about 50% of the migrants coming in.