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NYC Mayor Eric Adams Appears On FOX5’s “Good Day New York”

Rosanna Scotto: Well, it’s been nearly eight months since midtown’s Roosevelt Hotel— which had closed in 2020— was reopened by the city as an asylum seeker arrival center. Since then, thousands of migrants have passed through the doors. Recently, I got a chance to go inside the facility— a very rare chance— and then I sat down with Mayor Adams and other officials about how the city is grappling with this unprecedented crisis.

Dr. Ted Long, Senior Vice President of Ambulatory Care, New York City Health + Hospitals: Welcome to the New York City Arrival Center. All asylum seekers coming into New York City each day will come through that same doorway there.

Scotto: And how many people have you processed so far since it began in 2021?

Dr. Long: At the New York City Arrival Center here, we’ve registered more than 70,000 asylum seekers since we opened this site in May of this past year.

Scotto: It doesn’t seem that busy today. Is this what it normally looks like; or, do you usually have a lot more people sitting in that waiting room?

Dr. Long: Yes, the day…the arrival center gets busier as the day goes on.

Scotto: The Roosevelt Hotel has become a symbol, and depending on who you talk to, it’s debatable whether it’s a hopeful symbol. Outside, mopeds and motorcycles line the sidewalk, the unspoken side hustle of working food deliveries while awaiting shelter.

Dr. Ted Long is helping with the processing of migrants, and he gave me a rare tour inside the hotel.

Scotto: So, how often, when you give these migrants a choice to go somewhere else, do they take you up on that offer?

Dr. Long: One out of every four that enters that front door will leave within 24 hours, because with our help, we’ve enabled them to complete their journey. Whether that’s finding and staying with friends and family in New York City or finding and staying with friends and family in another city across the country, we’ll help them to get there.

So, this is our cafeteria. We had this initial issue of, how do we create a meal that would be what somebody would want if they’re coming from Venezuela, Senegal or the Ukraine.

Scotto: That’s what we’ve heard. Sometimes they don’t like the food that you’re serving because they’re not accustomed to it.

Dr. Long: Exactly. So, we did a survey of everybody. Everybody disliked the same meal, and the most popular meal…

Scotto: Which was…which was that? What’s the least liked…

Dr. Long: What would you think?

Scotto: The least liked and the most liked?

Dr. Long: The least liked was roast beef. Nobody likes roast beef. And most liked genre of food?

Scotto: Pizza.

Dr. Long: Italian food, very good.

Scotto: We win!

Manuel Castro, the commissioner of the city’s Immigrant Affairs, is trying to acclimate the migrants, but at the same time, he’s frustrated, too.

Scotto: Do you see it getting any quieter? Are people dissipating? Are they still coming to our city?

Commissioner Manuel Castro, Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs: Look, we’ve said this time and time again, this is not sustainable. We had to do this because it’s an emergency and a lot of people are coming in that have no idea what’s going on. They were just given a bus ticket to come here or a plane ticket to come here and then they don’t know where else to go.

Scotto: You talk about that you came here as a young child, your family migrated here. What was the difference from your family’s migration to how these families are being treated right now?

Commissioner Castro: When I came here with my family, we didn’t get much support.

Scotto: You got probably nothing.

Commissioner Castro: We got nothing. We came here to stay with an aunt that was already living in New York and we struggled through those many years at the beginning to find work, find housing, et cetera. I mean, it’s hard to settle here as an immigrant. But once you get over those initial challenges it’s beautiful. It’s great to be in this city, and this is why so many people keep coming.

Scotto: And poll after poll finds New Yorkers angry at the federal government and their lack of help in fixing this crisis. Mayor Adams has gone to D.C. more than 10 times pleading for help with what could be a $12 billion cost over the next three years. Right now, New York City is on its own, running out of money and out of room.

Mayor Eric Adams: We’re getting close to anywhere from 2,500 to peaking at 4,000 a week.

Scotto: What happens when there’s no more room? I mean, we’re almost at capacity now, right?

Mayor Adams: Oh, no, we’re there. We’re there.

Scotto: We’re there.

Mayor Adams: We’re not just saying we’re out of room as a sound bite, we’re out of room literally. People are going to be eventually sleeping on the streets.

Scotto: Okay. What would it take for you to close the front door?

Mayor Adams: I don’t have the authorization to tell people they can’t come into New York City.

Scotto: Why not?

Mayor Adams: It’s against the law. It’s against the law.

Scotto: But everybody keeps talking about sanctuary city, that we’re not using it the way that it was originally intended.

Mayor Adams: And I agree. We cannot by law to tell someone if they come into the city you can’t come into the city. We can’t even turn them over to ICE.

Scotto: I know. We see that. There are crimes that are going on in the city that are migrant related, and there’s no talk about that at all. Why not? Why can’t the NYPD notify ICE?

Mayor Adams: The law states that we cannot notify ICE. That’s…I cannot break the law and enforce the law.

Scotto: So, what I think I’m confused about is, you know, migrants have come to our city for years and years, decades, decades, but they were not given a hotel room. They were not given food, clothing, cell phones, health insurance. Stop it. Why can’t you stop it?

Mayor Adams: We have never witnessed this level of migration in this hemisphere. Europe was dealing with this. But with the destabilization of Venezuela, we’ve never witnessed before, 7.5 million people in this hemisphere, so we are being inundated, and we have now moved into another phase of saying, all of those services that you’re talking, that we are going to…we’re down to food, shelter, clothing, that’s it, because this is a national problem. It’s unfair for local municipalities and cities to handle this problem.

Scotto: But the President says the border is secure. Is it?

Mayor Adams: Well, I don’t know the definition of what they’re using as “secure.” You know… 

Scotto: Would you use…would you say it was secure?

Mayor Adams: I think too many people are coming through various pathways and cavities in our border, and we have to be extremely careful, because not everyone that’s coming is pursuing the American Dream.

Scotto: Yeah, we’ve been hearing that. So, this is a larger investigation on immigration that I’m working on for Fox Nation. It will be on Fox Nation in the next few weeks.

January 2, 2024 New York NY

SOURCE: NYC.GOVMidtown Tribune news
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