New York, Oct 13 (EFE).- Hispanic immigrants, politicians and activists spoke out Thursday in defense of the thousands of undocumented migrants arriving in New York City, criticizing the Democratic mayor’s plans to house these people in tent encampments and demanding that they be provided with more appropriate places to stay.
The demonstrators gathered at the steps of City Hall and shouted slogans in Spanish demanding Mayor Eric Adams ensure more appropriate shelter for the migrants.
The group, including some Democratic lawmakers, said Adams’ decision to house the migrants in sprawling tent-like structures is “unacceptable” and “inhumane” and demanded as a short-term solution that they be taken to hotels like others before them.
They recalled that the housing crisis is not new and that the city and state of New York have let the problem go unresolved for years.
Those emergency centers, which Adams first announced on Sept. 23 to house migrants bussed there in many cases by Republican governors in southern US states, provide not only immediate shelter to migrants on the day of their arrival but also various other services and assistance in reaching their final destination should they choose not to stay in New York City.
Nilda Baez, who has lived in the United States for more than 25 years, described the hangar-sized tents as “inhumane.”
“After going through that whole ordeal, it’s completely inhumane to think of housing recent arrivals in tents. What they deserve is what every human being deserves: a dignified and safe home where they can rest without fear,” she said.
The demonstrators said the tent encampments offer insufficient protection from winter weather that is on the way in the coming weeks and from stormy conditions.
The steady daily arrival of migrants has caused the population at New York City’s shelters to climb to more than 62,000.
The migrant surge also comes at a time when a growing number of New Yorkers have been evicted from their homes and many others are fighting eviction since a pandemic-triggered eviction moratorium was lifted on Jan. 15.
Silvana Lopez, a Colombian who says she fled violence in her homeland and arrived in New York City a month ago with her husband and their three-year-old son, said all they are asking for is a “decent place” free of safety concerns and assurance that their child will have enough to eat.
State Sen. Jabari Brisport, a Democrat, took direct aim at the mayor, saying the current crisis was a failure of policy, imagination and leadership. EFE