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New York City to open first asylum-seeker arrival center and additional relief center for migrants

<i>Carlo Allegri/Reuters</i><br/>The Roosevelt Hotel is pictured a day after announcing it will close at the end of October due to ongoing losses associated with the Covid-19 pandemic in New York City.
Carlo Allegri/Reuters
The Roosevelt Hotel is pictured a day after announcing it will close at the end of October due to ongoing losses associated with the Covid-19 pandemic in New York City.

By Samantha Beech, CNN

New York City will open the city’s first asylum-seeker arrival center next week, as hundreds of migrants continue to arrive in the city each day, following the expiration of a pandemic-era border restriction, city officials said.

The center will double as the city’s ninth Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Center, as officials continue to plea for more state and federal government support in handling what Mayor Eric Adams refers to as a national crisis.

Officials have warned the expiration of Title 42, which went into effect on Thursday, could invite a crush of migrants and aggravate the humanitarian crisis at the southern border, CNN previously reported. The policy has been kept in place by the courts and used by the Biden administration to deal with migrants at the border.

Adams said in a news release Saturday the Roosevelt Hotel in Midtown Manhattan, which has been closed for nearly three years, will host the arrival and humanitarian center. The location will serve as a “centralized intake center for all arriving asylum-seekers and providing migrants with access to a range of legal, medical, and reconnection services, as well as placement, if needed, in a shelter or humanitarian relief center,” the mayor said.

The statement did not indicate exactly when the center would open, but it said “beginning later this week” the Roosevelt Hotel will open 175 rooms for children and families, with the intention of expanding to include more availability at a later date.

Since last spring, New York City has processed more than 65,000 migrants and around 35,000 remain in the city’s care, according to city officials. The city has opened more than 140 emergency shelters and eight large-scale humanitarian relief centers to manage the crisis, the mayor said.

“While this new arrival center and humanitarian relief center will create hundreds of good-paying, union jobs and provide the infrastructure to help asylum-seekers reach their final destination, without federal or state assistance, we will be unable to continue treating new arrivals and those already here with the dignity and care that they deserve,” Adams said.

NY counties sue city over migrant program

New York City is appealing legal action from nearby counties after Adams last week announced a plan to send willing migrants to hotels outside the city, ahead of an expected surge. Officials in Orange County and Rockland counties filed lawsuits attempting to stop the plan, even though some migrants have already arrived, CNN previously reported.

The mayor said the program will launch with two hotels located in the small hamlets of Orange Lake and Orangeburg. Adams’ spokesperson, Fabien Levy, told CNN there is capacity for up to 300 migrants between the two hotels initially, with the potential to “expand.”

Filed in state court in Orange County, one of the lawsuits obtained by CNN alleges the city’s plan exceeds its authority, violates a county executive order and bypasses shelter licensing requirements. It asks the court to issue a preliminary injunction blocking the city’s plan while the proceeding is pending.

On Friday, a judge granted a temporary restraining order against the Adam’s plan, blocking the city from transporting migrants to a hotel in Rockland County. The city has said it plans to appeal the restraining order. A court hearing is scheduled for May 30 to determine if the order will be extended.

“Despite calling on the federal government for a national decompression strategy since last year, and for a decompression strategy across the state, New York City has been left without the necessary support to manage this crisis,” Adams said when he announced the plan. “With a vacuum of leadership, we are now being forced to undertake our own decompression strategy.”

On Friday, New York Governor Kathy Hochul asked President Joe Biden for federal assistance with constructing temporary housing for asylum-seekers in anticipation of several thousand asylum-seekers arriving in the city every week. The governor also said in a statement she and a bipartisan delegation will continue urging President Biden to allow asylum-seekers the ability to work legally, “so they can join the workforce and become active participants in our communities.”

CNN on Friday reached out to the White House for comment.

Asylum-seekers coming into the city will be directed to the arrival center, Adams said. In the coming weeks, the center will offer services such as enrollment in city public schools and mental health counseling.

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CNN’s Dakin Andone contributed to this report.

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