We Witnessed the NYC Migrant Crisis Firsthand. This is What We Saw. Part I
Last week, three staff members from the Federation for American Immigration Reform visited New York City to get a first-hand look at the migrant crisis Mayor Eric Adams says will “destroy” the city. What we saw shocked us.
While there are estimated to be more than 200 migrant shelters set up around the five boroughs, our day in New York City was centered around three locations: The first was the Federal office building in lower Manhattan, where recently arrived migrants apply for a variety of immigration-related services including seeking work authorization. The second was the Roosevelt Hotel in midtown, across the street from Grand Central Terminal, which has been turned into the best-known migrant shelter in the city, if not the country. And third, an office in the East Village that the city has set up to issue all-expense paid transportation to other locations in the country, in the hopes of alleviating some of the burdens the migration crisis has posed on New York.
With the exception of a few news outlets coverage of the impact of the migration crisis on communities all across the United States is limited and, when it is covered, it is generally from the perspective of the migrants rather than on how it affects the lives of the American people. FAIR’s goal is to fill in the very large gaps left vacant by many “mainstream” news organizations.
The Federal Building
One of our team members arrived in New York the night before the rest. He woke up early the following morning, grabbed a bagel and headed to the Federal Building, where many federal government offices are housed. There he witnessed a line of migrants stretched for four city blocks waiting for their appointment at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) field office.
The three of us returned later in the day to speak to some of the migrants to get a sense of why they had come to the U.S. illegally. The line had died down when we arrived, but we still found many people waiting to get in. A FAIR team member spoke in Spanish to a family; they had come from Venezuela and had just finished up inside USCIS. The family told our team member that they had been in the U.S. for a few months and that they were waiting for their asylum claim to be approved. According to CBP data, 266,071 Venezuelans were uncounted at the southern border in FY 2023.
As we stood examining the situation, a man approached us, asking where USCIS was. We asked him where he was from, and he told us Senegal, Africa. When I got home later in the evening, I read an article about federal authorities in New York City arresting an illegal alien inside the United States wanted for “terroristic activities” in Senegal, affirming recent warnings by FBI Director Christopher Wray and others that our open borders pose a clear risk to our homeland security. Many migrants waiting in line had their photo ID lanyards from the Roosevelt. We watched them continue to enter the building until we left in the early evening, wrapping up our research day in New York City.