Ongoing Migrant Ordeal in New York

CARSON BROD FEBRUARY 11, 2024, Reprinted By Sunday Adiyoh Imanche, February 27, 2024

Randall’s Island Complex. Credit: Gigi_NYC via Flickr

New York City has been facing an influx of migrants from the United States’ southern border with Mexico who are seeking refuge in the state. The situation stems from the movement of migrants from southern states to the Northeast, impacting the city and the state.

Over the past few months, the city has experienced a significant rise in migrants from the United States-Mexico border, primarily driven by a combination of economic hardships, political instability, and environmental challenges in their home countries. The surge in arrivals has overwhelmed existing shelters and social services, creating a complex humanitarian crisis. 

“More than 172,400 migrants have arrived and gone through the city’s intake system since the spring of 2022,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams through his office as reported by the Associated Press. “The majority have since moved on to other places or became self-sufficient, but over 67,500 are currently still in the city’s care,” the statement added. 

The Randall’s Island Complex has served as a temporary shelter, with a series of tents for sleeping, eating, and bathroom facilities. The city-run shelter has been facing criticism from the migrants taking refuge there, as violence and cold weather are making for dangerous living situations. 

In September 2022, Dutchess County issued an executive order, keeping migrants from being housed in hotels in the county, putting a stop to the plans to house asylum-seekers in a Poughkeepsie hotel. Other counties in the Hudson Valley have been more willing to accommodate migrants. 

To provide more space in the Randall’s Island shelter and others like it, Mayor Eric Adams has been relocating migrants to suburban areas, including Rockland and Orange County, with the promise of work opportunities. 

Finding jobs has proven difficult for them. Most have to be paid off-the-books, due to their undocumented status and are subject to mistreatment and poor working conditions. 

“More than a dozen asylum-seekers who were moved from the city to Hudson Valley hotels said in interviews they have faced threats of deportation, wage theft, and unsavory working conditions,” according to a report by Politico

In response to the workplace mistreatment of migrants, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul is planning to temporarily relax working qualifications in the hopes of making finding suitable jobs easier. 

Gov. Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams are still requesting aid from the federal government as the situation becomes more serious. Both have placed blame on President Joe Biden for not making it easier for migrants to obtain their working papers. Instead, Biden has pointed the finger at a stagnant Congress that is not willing to act

Gov. Hochul urged Biden in a letter to the White House to take executive action to speed up the process of getting working papers to the migrants, as well as provide more financial aid to New York City and the state, and make more federal land available for shelter to ease the stress put on New York. 

“Mayor Adams and I have championed the idea of a federal designation that would allow the individuals already here in New York, the ability to work to support themselves and their families,” said Hochul. “What we’ve said all along is just let them work and help us out financially.”

In response to Hochul’s letter, Biden continues to place the blame on Congress and their inability to act. Biden also added that he is trying to work on the country’s immigration system without congressional help, and is finding ways to send resources to New York. 
As anti-immigrant protests, dangerous living and working conditions for migrants, and a lack of federal support all persist, New York officials hope that this crisis can be resolved soon.

One thought on “Ongoing Migrant Ordeal in New York

  • February 27, 2024 at 6:21 am

    Kathy Hochul, the governor of New York, is intending to temporarily modify working qualifications in the hopes of making it easier for migrants to obtain jobs that are suited for them. This is in response to the maltreatment of migrants in the workplace. Although anti-immigrant demonstrations, hazardous living and working circumstances for migrants, and a lack of help from the federal government continue to exist.


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