Community activists have shifted their focus to humanitarian efforts in Newburgh after the arrival of dozens of migrants from New York City.
Spectrum News 1 spoke to one migrant about his story, and learned about a community that is stepping up to help.
Ignacio Acevedo believes every little bit helps. Donations have poured in from the community from people who want to offer their support to the newly arrived migrants.
“There are some people that just want to help,” said Acevedo, an organizer with the New York Civil Liberties Union. “And so they offered to collect whatever they got at home, and said can you come pick it up. And I picked it up.”
The group of about 60 to 70 adult men arrived in Newburgh, located north of New York City, last week. Acevedo, who came to the U.S. from Mexico, was himself undocumented as a child. He says he can relate.
What You Need To Know
- Dozens of migrants were bused from New York City to Newburgh's The Crossroads Hotel last week amid a political standoff between NYC Mayor Eric Adams and officials in Orange County and neighboring counties
- Felipe Cortez, a migrant from Ecuador who traveled more than 2,400 miles to get to the U.S., spoke to Spectrum News 1
- His goal is to find work to provide a better future for his wife and children in his country
- Donations have poured in from the community, such as new clothes and shoes, to help the migrants rebuild their lives in their new home
Many of the migrants are here alone, leaving behind their families, including wives and children, in their home countries.
Felipe Cortez is one of them. Cortez arrived in the U.S. about two weeks ago. He spoke in Spanish.
“No, no no, I don’t feel nervous,” Cortez said. “Because the nervousness ended since we began this journey, which is very hard. It wasn’t easy to get here.”
He traveled from Ecuador through Colombia and Guatemala to get to the U.S.-Mexico border. The journey to this country was more than 2,400 miles.
Cortez said he’s getting the color or life back into him. The trip was unbelievably hard and dark at times.
His goal is the same as many other migrants we spoke to: Finding honest work. He said he wants to participate in society, to get ahead and for the community to know he and the others aren’t bad people.
The migrants say they’re grateful for the generosity of their neighbors, but community activists say the need is still great. And they want to work to build that support for these migrants in the weeks and months ahead.
“Now, these gentlemen here, are coming here, and will have further needs,” said Valerie Carlisle, an immigrant rights advocate with Reunite Migrant Families. “Because, as we know, they need to get settled, they want to work and they probably need more clothing, more hygiene items.”
That’s why the bags of donations, full of new clothes and shoes, are critical to helping men rebuild their lives in their new home.
Immigration advocates believe it’s about helping your neighbor. For them, it’s about humanity and community.
“I’m directly connected to this. And this is the way that I help my fellow neighbor,” said Acevedo.
Migrants like Cortez left behind desperate situations in their home countries in search of a better life.
“I am thankful to all of you for taking all of us in, and to give us an opportunity,” said Cortez. “All of us, the immigrants, who are leaving our countries for a better future, for our families first and foremost.”