Asylum seekers camped outside Watson Hotel demand to hear from Mayor Eric Adams directly
NEW YORK — Asylum seekers remain camped outside a Manhattan hotel for the second day in a row.
They’re refusing to relocate to a relief center at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, citing concerns over shelter conditions. So they continue to sleep on sidewalks outside the Watson Hotel.
They say the hotel’s location on the West Side makes starting their new lives in New York City a little bit easier.
The city tweeted a video showing the inside of the Brooklyn relief center, which was set up to temporarily house up to 1,000 men.
MTA buses showed up again Tuesday to pick up the men, who arrived as asylum seekers and were initially placed at the Watson.
“That’s not a better place. That’s a bad place,” one man told CBS2’s Zinnia Maldonado. “That’s not good for anybody.”
The asylum seekers say some have been living in the hotel for weeks, others just days. They say they’d rather stay camped outside instead of moving, citing a lack of privacy and tight conditions at the new shelter.
They say they’re waiting to hear from Mayor Eric Adams directly.
“We want to stay here. Waiting for Mayor Adams to come, tell us what solution he has for us. But we don’t want to move from here if he doesn’t have a solution,” one man said.
Read More: Mayor Adams’ plan to use Brooklyn Cruise Terminal as emergency shelter for asylum seekers faces backlash
The mayor toured the Brooklyn facility Monday, where the city says the men will receive a cot, hot showers, three meals a day and transportation.
“I just had to come here when I started hearing rumors it was too cold. My brother’s got on shorts,” said one man.
Advocates say the hotel’s location provides better access to work for the asylum seekers.
“The thing that the migrants want most is work. Many of them are already working. And they found work, because they’re centrally in Midtown, Manhattan. It will be a challenge for them to get to work,” Legal Aid staff attorney Josh Goldfein said.
They add it’s difficult for them to not only find legit jobs, because they have to wait six months for working papers, but also to find somewhere else to live, as they’re ineligible for housing subsidies.
“If we made them available to the undocumented asylum seekers, they would then have the ability to get permanent housing,” said Christine Quinn, CEO of Women in Need.
The city’s Office of Immigrant Affairs says it’s not establishing detention centers, rather offering the same services at the Brooklyn terminal as any other relief center.
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