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As asylum seekers remain camped out in Midtown, lawmakers heading to Brooklyn to tour new shelter



NEW YORK — Members of the City Council are planning to tour the new shelter at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal after controversy broke out over the conditions there.

Asylum seekers have been hesitant to move from the Watson Hotel in Midtown, citing a lack of privacy, bathrooms, and living space.

READ MOREAsylum seekers camped outside Watson Hotel say they want to hear from Mayor Eric Adams directly  

City leaders are accusing certain groups of people of agitating the asylum seekers outside the Watson by spreading misinformation about the living conditions inside the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal. In fact, a lot of people at the shelter told CBS2 on Wednesday morning they are satisfied with the conditions and how they are being treated.

Still, lawmakers were set to tour the Red Hook facility on Wednesday afternoon to see the situation for themselves.

For days, asylum seekers have refused to move to the new facility from the Watson, claiming the living conditions are too poor.


“They’re trying to move us to a shelter where there’s not enough space, not enough bathrooms, not comfortable, no heat,” one asylum seeker said.

With the assistance of a translator, a few men told CBS2 the beds at the Red Hook facility are packed together with no privacy, adding the location is not as convenient as Midtown, Manhattan, where some have found jobs. Many returned to the Watson, and when they weren’t allowed back inside chose to camp out in the cold, in protest.

“There’s hundreds of people packed together head to toe,” one asylum seeker said.

“We can do better and we must do better,” an advocate said.

The city has been fighting what it calls “misleading information” due to videos and pictures posted of the Brooklyn facility.


Officials say there’s security and nearly 100 toilets. There are also free, regular MTA buses and ferries for transportation, controlled temperature, three meals per day, and hot showers.

While Mayor Eric Adams toured the facility Monday, Manuel Castro, the commissioner of the city’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, visited the Watson on Tuesday to speak with asylum seekers and later took a bus with a group to check out the new Brooklyn facility.

The office tweeted on Tuesday night that most of the men have moved into their new home. However, as of Wednesday morning, the number of tents outside the Watson remained the same.

Source: CBS

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