Migrants refusing to leave Manhattan hotel for new shelter

(NewsNation) — Some migrants in New York City are resisting an effort by the mayor to relocate them out of a hotel and into a shelter, instead opting to sleep on the sidewalk.

On Monday, police and workers with the city’s Office of Immigrant Affairs reached a deal with the men, allowing them to sleep on the sidewalk but not allowing them to go back inside the Watson Hotel where they had been staying.

Mr. Labrador, who declined to give his first name, is among the 1,000 mostly male migrants who have been staying at the Watson Hotel for weeks. He came to America 10 months ago from Venezuela and was staying at an apartment he could not afford in Brooklyn.

He came to the Watson when he heard it was a housing option.

“We just want to have a job to work good and have a good life,” Labrador said.

Last week, Mayor Eric Adams announced the city plans to move groups of asylum-seekers from the Watson Hotel in Hell’s Kitchen to the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal. The hotel will then be repurposed for migrant families with children. 

Many are refusing to go to the shelter, calling the new accommodations inhumane. They’ve shared videos that show side-by-side cots and claim there are only four bathrooms for all 1,000 of them. They also report the building lacks heat and water.

Many of the men who did go to the Brooklyn shelter returned almost immediately, saying they would rather stay on the streets than in the shelter.

“The conditions are so bad we have to cross the street to take a shower,” Labrador said. “We need to come back to our beds, which are all together like a jail.”

The mayor’s office says the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal is heated and they rebut the claims about bathrooms, saying there are over 85 of them.   

Migrant groups are asking people to bring blankets and other supplies that might help those sleeping on the sidewalk.

More than 42,000 asylum-seekers have arrived in New York City since last spring, and the mayor’s office says the city has surpassed its moral obligations to provide shelter, food, health care and other services. They say the facilities at Brooklyn Cruise Terminal will provide the same services as every other humanitarian relief center in the city.


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