New York City officials have opened up a temporary center to house some of the migrants who have been bused into the city from southern border states. The center is made up of a series of giant tents located on Randall’s Island.
“This is a historic moment. We haven’t seen something like this in New York City for nearly a century,” New York City Commissioner of Immigrant Affairs Manuel Castro said Tuesday. “But more importantly, you’ll continue to see the kind of welcoming we expect of the rest of the country. You will not see this anywhere else in the country.”
According to officials, the city’s plan is to bring single men to the facility once they arrive at the main Manhattan bus terminal and to house them there for a period of days while determining next steps. Families with children are being housed in a hotel.
The New York City center includes cots for up to 500 migrants, laundry facilities, a dining hall and phones for residents to make international calls. Other amenities include a recreational room with televisions, video games and board games.
“We’re going to offer you food, snacks, water. You’ve come a long way. Your clothes are probably dirty. You probably haven’t showered in some time,” said Dr. Ted Long, an official with the New York City Department of Health and Human Services. “That’s not the right mental state to be in to determine where you want to be for the next several years of your life.”
In recent months, New York City has seen an unexpected increase in migrants seeking asylum in the United States who have been sent to the city from other states, including Texas and Arizona. The influx has put a strain on the city’s shelter system, leading officials to look for other places to house people. The tents were initially planned for a far-off corner of the Bronx but were moved after concerns about flooding and criticism from immigrant advocates over the remote location.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.