Asylum seekers in Manhattan are facing the worst as Riverdale shelter holds its own

Will North Riverdale face the same crisis as midtown has in taking in asylum seekers? Well, it does not seem to be the case — for now, at least.


Will North Riverdale face the same crisis as midtown has in taking in asylum seekers?

Well, it does not seem to be the case — for now, at least. But the situation in Manhattan is quite simple. There are too many migrants and too little space.

As asylum seekers seek shelter, they might have imagined what a safe haven might look like in the United States. New York City was not one of them; it was probably their worst nightmare.

They sleep on the street under the beating heat or take shelter in buses capable of holding 15 people.

“This is the heart-breaking reality and something our teams have worked tirelessly to avoid but while our compassion is limitless, our resources are not,” said Fabien Levy, Mayor Adam’s press secretary.

Officials say The Roosevelt Hotel in Midtown is maxed out. The Roosevelt does more than meet migrants. It is not only an arrival center, but it provides food, vaccinations and includes caseworkers who discuss the migrants’ stay in the United States.

It is also a humanitarian relief center for children and families, which filled up a long time ago. Children and families are a top priority where they are given placements and go to the front of the line, the mayor’s office explained.

Meanwhile, homeless services were leaning towards commercial hotels for shelter in May as asylum seekers were flowing throughout the United States. The Van Cortlandt Motel was one of them.

But the motel has its fair share of capacity issues as well. Before the summer hit, posted on the building signs stating there was no room available during the same time, 40,000 asylum seekers fled their country to come to the United States.

There is a lack of transparency. The hotel is presumably supposed to hold 100 single men, Councilman Eric Dinowitz said in May. But he knew little details about the contract.

The mayor’s office says the city has 50,000 migrants in their care. And more than 93,000 have come through the city’s intake system since last Spring.

As the city continues to fill up emergency shelters, federal funding won’t cover the $4 billion the city is expected to spend by next year.

Congressman Jamaal Bowman, Sen. Kristen Gillibrand, and Congressman Adriano Espaillat led six of their New York colleagues in sending a letter to the United States Customs and Immigration Services asking them to expand USCIC Support Centers to New York and ensure all asylum seekers would be able to utilize services, a news release stated.

“Housing, legal support, and nutrition services are basic rights,” Bowman said. “We have already proven that in times of crisis, we have the ability to step up and provide critical services to refugees and asylum seekers.”

Espaillat said more USCIS support centers could provide critical resources for migrants and asylum seekers.

The City Council is trying to find temporary locations for the homeless migrants. And the mayor’s office is deploying city buses for cooling and waiting, a Queens councilman said.

“It’s definitely a very bad sign if there are lots of people out here waiting,” Josh Goldfein, a staff attorney at the Legal Aid Society, told The Gothamist

“But it’s not like people just sit there and wait. People have needs that they need to take care of, so the fact that people aren’t there doesn’t mean that people didn’t try to get in and – after being told they couldn’t come in — maybe they’re sleeping in a park, they’re riding the trains.”

Even Adams started to realize that there is a problem. In a recent press conference, he said, “It’s not going to get any better.” From now on, it’s all downhill, he said.

He aims to get the migrant’s work authorization as it would be a game-changer.

However, the USCIS is completely understaffed and underfunded. Lawmakers showed a backlog of 8.6 million application petitions in 2022.

“Children and families continue to be prioritized and are found a bed every night,” Levy said. “We continue to do our best to at least offer adults a temporary place to wait off the sidewalks,” but, in all honesty, New Yorkers may continue to see more migrants waiting outside as hundreds of asylum seekers continue to arrive in our city,” Levy said in a prepared statement.”

Manhattan, asylum seekers, shelters, motels, hotels, Van Cortlandt, Mayor Eric Adams, The Roosevelt Hotel