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Migrants refusing to leave Watson Hotel for shelter at Brooklyn Cruise Terminal cite poor conditions


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    NEW YORK (WCBS) — A number of migrants are refusing to leave a West Side hotel after the city sent buses to move them to a new shelter in Brooklyn.

Migrants and advocates have been at the Watson Hotel. Monday morning, more MTA buses arrived to take the migrants to a shelter at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal.

A handful of them – some sleeping outside, and some coming out of the hotel – got on the buses, but a few remained. They told CBS2’s Zinnia Maldonado they went to the new shelter, saw the conditions, and decided to come right back.

The inside of the new migrant relief center has cots stacked in tight, head to toe. A migrant showed CBS2 a picture he took after he left the Watson Hotel over the weekend and boarded a bus to the new shelter.

“The Brooklyn Cruise Terminal is ugly. It’s disgusting,” the migrant said through a translator.

Migrants said they’d rather sleep outside the Watson Hotel, where they were previously placed, than stay at the terminal. Some spent Sunday night on the sidewalk and inside tents.

“They’re not looking for luxury. They’re looking for a dignified process with which to advance, and that the situation that they’ve been put in, they keep feeling like they are put back to step one each time,” said Sergio Uzurin of the Mutual Aid Collective.

Last week, Mayor Eric Adams announced plans to set up the 1,000 bed facility in Brooklyn for single men to make room for asylum-seeking families and children at the Watson Hotel. But advocates said the conditions there aren’t suitable.

The city released a statement that read in part, “The facilities at Brooklyn Cruise Terminal will provide the same services as every other humanitarian relief center in the city, and the scheduled relocations to Brooklyn Cruise Terminal this weekend took place was planned.”

Adams, speaking about the migrant crisis Monday morning, said with more than 42,000 migrants arriving since last spring, the state and federal governments need to step up their funding as they continue to deal with a national crisis.

“We received $8 million from FEMA. But when you look at the price tag, it’s going to continue to go up,” said Adams. “There’s a crisis right now, and that crisis should be coordinated by the national government. We need to expedite the right to work, because it’s just unfair to cities like El Paso, New York, Chicago, Washington for us to pick up this burden.”

A city official outside the Watson Hotel told Maldonado the relocation of these migrants is only supposed to last 12 weeks. There’s no word on where they would go after that.

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