New York, a city overwhelmed by immigration

They arrived in New York last week more than 2,900 new asylum seekers. The predecessor had around 2,300. And so, add up and continue, with an average of 500 immigrants per day Traverse the Big Apple in search of a better life. A 40-year-old law obliges the city to provide shelter to anyone who asks, but the humanitarian crisis it is currently facing is unprecedented. That’s why Mayor Eric Adams has been trying to override this rule in court for weeks. “because the city has no more capacity”, repeat ad nauseam. He asserts that New Yorkers’ compassion “knows no bounds, but local resources do, and they can’t take the pressure anymore.”

Of the 100,000 immigrants who have passed through New York since last spring, more than 57,000 people continue to live under the protection of the city, which provides them with an average of ten million dollars a day. 192 emergency shelters have been set up in the last year and 3,000 new places are being considered to continue to accommodate people. “All options are on the table,” officials say. Even part of the famous Central Park has been turned into another reception center. In that fiscal year, spending on new neighbors was $3.6 billion. Entire hotels have been closed to provide them with shelter, providing them with food, services, medical assistance, and schools and studies for children. Still, it’s not enough, and last week a long line of immigrants outside the doors of a luxury hotel in central Manhattan once again set off alarm bells.

“I came because they threatened me in my country. The situation there is very bad,” a newly arrived Venezuelan told LA RAZÓN. After four days of sleeping in line on the street, she desperately confessed, “I just want a bed.” Like her, dozens of immigrants spent several days outside the doors of the Roosevelt Hotel, waiting to be assigned lodging or explained what the next legal step in their asylum process was. With pressure from the media and organizations defending immigrant rights, the long line disappeared. Some would say “as if by magic” because the mayor has been making sure that there is no space left for months. Suddenly it seemed so. The City Council has moved them to a recreation center in the borough of Brooklyn and to various churches around the city. From the city council, they deny that keeping dozens of people outside was an extreme measure to put pressure on the central government, which doesn’t seem particularly supportive of New York State at the moment.

president Joe Biden “He let the city down,” laments Adams. “New York will continue to lead, but it’s time for federal and state governments to get stronger,” he told a recent conference. The mayor has traveled to the nation’s capital, declared a state of emergency in the fall in order to receive federal funding, and every day he pleads for help in his statements to the press, there is nothing for Washington to support could he. According to him, the humanitarian crisis will cost New York more than $12,000 million over the next three years. Right now he has asked Biden for 300 million, but only 142 million has arrived.

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New York is virtually alone in facing the problem, hand in hand between the authorities and the kindness of thousands of New Yorkers who are helping where they can. Such is the case of Ilze Thielmann, a volunteer leader of the Team TLC NYC group. He does his best by working 60 hours a week in the Tiendita de la Bonadidad. It’s a place where simple and less simple products are offered in return for a thank you. “Here you go shopping like in any store,” explains Thielmann, “but everything is free because it’s a donation from the public, you don’t have to pay.” There’s everything from soap, toothbrushes and deodorant to books, baby and adult clothing and even jewelry. “It’s not about them taking what they can or what’s left, we want to honor them. That they are comfortable, able to wear jewellery, make-up and nice clothes. Looking good after months of travel ».

The main problem for new arrivals is that they cannot legally work until 150 days after submitting their asylum application if they receive a special permit. During this time they are dependent on social benefits and on the money they get from jobs that they pay “under the table”, as they say here, i.e. in cash. Manuel G., a 27-year-old young man who lives in the Hotel Row, 100 meters from Times Square, told LA RAZÓN. “Men distribute groceries or work in construction, and that’s how we make some money.” Newly arrived women are turning to other types of jobs. Such is the case of Ecuadorian Ángela Ramírez, speaking from her street food stand in a subway station. “I cleaned the house of some compatriots, like a lot of women who come here, and when I earned some money I bought this car and started my small business.” Every day he spends around 50 euros on fruit that he washes and cuts to sell on the street. His profit per day is $150.

Most newcomers come from Venezuela, Ecuador and Honduras. After months of crossing, they crossed the Mexico-Texas border and found they were not wanted. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott boasted a few days ago that he had “deported” 28,000 newcomers. The Republican referred to sending them to Democratic cities like Chicago, New York or Boston. In fact, it was Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey who was the last to sound the alarm, who has just declared a state of emergency because shelters have already reached their maximum capacity. Repeat New York Mayor Eric Adams’ phrase, “We can no longer do this alone.” Healey has also reached out to President Biden for help: “We need a federal association, funds, and urgent action to meet this moment.” So far, the central government has not responded.

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