Social Issues

Growing overcrowding of migrants sparks protest in New York

New York, Aug 27 (EFE).- Dozens of people held a protest demonstration on Sunday in front of the Gracie Mansion, the residence of the New York mayor, as the city grapples with the overwhelming influx of migrants that has exceeded its capacity.

“We came from different parts of the city to protest against the migrant centers in our neighborhoods,” Curtis Sliwa, who led a demonstration outside New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ house, told EFE.

“We want to show the mayor that we are not going to let this happen. He must stop inviting immigrants.”

In the past 15 months, over 100,000 asylum seekers have arrived in New York, predominantly in Manhattan.

Legally bound, the city is obliged to provide accommodation for them in publicly-funded hotels and shelters, even as the influx strains the public shelter system beyond its limits.

Sliwa blamed President Joe Biden for the crisis.

“The border is not secure. It is a total chaos,” said the founder of Guardian Angels citizen patrol and former candidate in the city’s Republican primary for mayor.

He reported that five buses arrive daily, transporting migrants dispatched by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican.

The move is seen as a strategy to heighten immigration pressure in Democratic strongholds.

According to Sliwa, it is crucial for the government to establish a policy, given that the city is rapidly running out of space and its public funds are nearly depleted.

Governor Kathy Hochul has appealed to President Biden for federal government intervention to expedite work permits for asylum seekers.

The White House has pointed to Congress as the reason for inaction.

As the migrant population continues to grow, the city administration has opened over 200 makeshift shelters, including 15 humanitarian aid centers.

Sliwa proposed a potential solution out of the crisis.

He said new arrivals could be accommodated on Rikers Island, situated between Queens and The Bronx in the East River, where a maximum security prison is located.

“Half the buildings on Rikers Island are empty, there are unused dormitories, cafeterias, and kitchens,” said Sliwa, donning a red beret to indicate that he is part of the Guardian Angels nonprofit.

He indicated that the proposed site could house up to 20,000 people.

“They can come and go while they’re there, they can get medical checkups, they can get vaccinated, we can check if they have criminal records from the countries they came from,” he said.

During the protest, Sliwa chanted slogans such as “Americans first and immigrants last in line.”

Others echoed similar sentiments, exclaiming, “Send them back.” EFE

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