A new 85,000 square foot facility, located next to the Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island, opened for male migrants Wednesday.
It’s meant to help as the city grapples with over 20,000 migrants who have gone through the shelter system after arriving in the city this spring. On Wednesday morning two more buses of migrants arrived at the Port Authority terminal.
“We in New York City wanna be as helpful as possible for asylum seekers to get to wherever they need to get to. Unfortunately, for many, New York City is not the place, so this will give us the capacity to be able to do that for so many people who are arriving in New York,” said Manuel Castor, the city’s commissioner of immigrant affairs.
What You Need To Know
A new 85,000 square foot facility, located next to the Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island, opened for male migrants Wednesday
At least 20,000 migrants have gone through the shelter system after arriving in the city since this spring
On Wednesday morning, two more buses of migrants arrived at the Port Authority terminal
The Randall's Island facility has been criticized by lawmakers and advocates calling for more permanent housing options
The city said the multiple tents and trailers at the new facility are equipped to house 500 single men in temperature-controlled dormitories with cots, televisions and games for entertainment.
There are also showers, a dining hall serving three meals a day, laundry services, and phones where migrants can continue to make arrangements to their final destination.
Lawmakers and advocates like Ariadna Phillips, an organizer from South Bronx Mutual Aid, have criticized the facility. She came to the new facility to protest Wednesday.
“if it looks and smells like a detention center in an isolated area, in a flood plain, that’s inaccessible by public transportation and we already know that essential needs are not being met,” said Phillips.
She and other say they also don’t believe officials who say these tents can withstand 90 mile per hour winds and every climate. They demand permanent housing options.
“We need to implement housing first programs that will address the needs of all New Yorkers whether they’ve been here waiting backlogged in the system or whether they’ve just arrived,” said Phillips.
In a statement, Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine, who supports the temporary center but admits a number of challenges exist, said in part, “For this plan to succeed, many logistical concerns must be addressed at the Randall’s Island site, particularly the limited transportation options there.”
The borough president also believes the city needs to double down on the provision of permanent housing vouchers to those currently in shelters, a policy Phillips and other advocates agree with.
“Permanent housing now. If we’re the greatest city on earth than we need to stabilize all New Yorkers,” said Phillips.