NEW YORK CITY (WABC) — The number of people in shelters in New York City is setting new records daily amid the relentless arrival of asylum seekers bussed in from Texas and elsewhere.
On Friday, New York City Mayor Eric Adams declared a state of emergency and announced an executive order suspending land use requirements to help the city cope with the influx of people.
Adams said he was “angry” that the city’s compassion was being “exploited by others for political gain” and what he called a “humanitarian crisis,” the mayor said, “is being accelerated by American political dynamics.”
There are 61,000 people currently in the shelter, which is “straining our ability to care for New Yorkers in need,” Adams said. He expects the city will have spent $1 billion by the end of the fiscal year.
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At least 5,500 migrant children have been enrolled in the city’s schools.
“While our compassion is limitless, our resources are not,” Adams said during a speech from City Hall’s Blue Room. “This is unsustainable.”
Of the 61,000 people in shelters, 20,000 are children. One in five is an asylum seeker.
More than 17,000 asylum seekers have been transported to NYC. Five or six buses arrive each day, sometimes more.
Nine were waiting at the Port Authority Bus Terminal Thursday, the highest number in a single day, the head of the city’s Office of Emergency Management told members of the City Council.
Eyewitness News was there when two more buses arrived Friday morning.
Responding to a media report about the city’s state of emergency, Texas Governor Greg Abbott said he will continue to send buses
“Sanctuary cities like New York City experience a FRACTION of what Texas border communities face every day,” he said in a tweet. “We continue to transport migrants to NYC, DC, & Chicago to relieve our overwhelmed border towns until Biden does his job to secure the border.”
Adams’ office issued the following response:
“We already proved last week that Governor Abbott was a liar. We will continue to trust the asylum seekers seeking a better life, not the politician who couldn’t even tell the truth to his entire state during a debate.”
Administration officials told elected leaders Thursday that they are considering large hotels and places of worship to temporarily house the asylum seekers.
Earlier this week, city councilors suggested the administration look at 10 currently closed hotels.
The proposal came after plans for a welcome center moved from Orchard Beach to Randall’s Island, a site that could process only half as many asylum seekers, leaving the city scrambling for additional space.
The administration also appealed to church and community groups this week for help, proposing a kind of “Adopt-A-Shelter” program in which religious leaders collect donated items for asylum seekers and distribute them.
City officials say about a third of the migrants want to go to another city or state.
Most of the migrants are from Venezuela and most of them want to go to Florida, but Texas does not offer free buses to Florida.
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