We Witnessed the NYC Migrant Crisis Firsthand. This is What We Saw. Part II
Yesterday, a team of FAIR investigators reported about the crush of illegal aliens who have inundated the area around New York City’s Federal Building. Today, we report on the impact the illegal immigration crisis is having on the city itself and its attempts to provide shelter to the estimated 125,000 people who have arrived over the past year or so.
The Roosevelt Hotel
I wasn’t sure what to expect to see when we arrived at the Roosevelt Hotel on a cold November morning. As we exited Grand Central Terminal and walked toward the grand building, I found it not hard to imagine that this was once a luxury hotel. Over 125,000 migrants have arrived in the Big Apple in the last year or so, and the Roosevelt Hotel is the new welcome center. It quickly became evident that it was no longer a normal hotel.
There was an overwhelming feeling that we weren’t supposed to be seeing what was happening at the Roosevelt. While it’s easy to get across American borders illegally, it is virtually impossible to gain access to the Roosevelt Hotel. National Guard soldiers and private security stand guard at the doors, stopping anyone without the correct credentials from entering. A local told me that the NYPD also gets involved sometimes.
As we examined the scene at the Roosevelt, numerous cars pulled up, and migrants hopped out with their suitcases to head into the hotel. Something stood out to me as very odd as we watched the situation unfold. These migrants knew precisely where to go as they got out of the car, and most of them didn’t head straight to the front door of the hotel. Instead, the migrants were going through an inconspicuous service entrance as they arrived for the first time, again adding to the eerie feeling of secrecy.
Giving a sense of how far-reaching this migrant crisis is, the migrants we encountered came from all across the globe. Single adults and families from Central and South America, and even a large contingent single adult men who had traveled all the way from Africa. We witnessed new arrivals, as well as ones coming and going from the hotel.
Next to one of the entrances to the Roosevelt Hotel is a restaurant, or at least it used to be. The windows are completely blacked out, and the only sign that this used to be a restaurant is the logo, indicating it was once the “Vander.” There is an entrance to the restaurant that offers a peek inside this mysterious former restaurant. Like the entrance to the Roosevelt, the doors are armed with National Guard soldiers who stared at me as I walked by, filming on my iPhone. I managed to sneak a look inside, where I saw what I assumed to be migrants sitting at the bar and at tables getting food and drinks.
As we walked around the block, I noticed something hanging from around the necks of the migrants. I was finally able to get a closer look, and it confirmed what I thought to be the case; these migrants are given photo identification that lists “guest name” and has a photo of them. This must be what security at the doors of the Roosevelt are checking.
Continuing to walk around the block, we were stunned by the sidewalks and streets clogged with electric scooters and motorbikes. Migrants exit the Roosevelt, hop on a scooter or bike and head to deliver food using Uber Eats or Door Dash. An entire black-market economy has sprung up, and the Roosevelt Hotel is the epicenter.
Other businesses share the ground level with the Roosevelt Hotel. At one point, we stopped at a beautiful coffee shop to warm up, and it was just steps away from the door to the hotel. As we sat there, we witnessed National Guard troops walking the sidewalk and more migrants arriving. It was a weird feeling knowing what was happening above us and only feet away. I also decided to pop into a small shoeshine shop on the ground floor near the hotel entrance. As my shoes were shined, I struck up a conversation with two gentlemen in suits sitting next to me. I asked how they felt about the migrant shelter just a few doors down. They responded simply, saying “no one in the city” is happy about the migrant crisis. When checking out, I asked the shop owner if he had encountered any problems because of the situation at the Roosevelt. He told me he just opened but hoped no issues would come.
The Reticketing Center
We departed the Roosevelt Hotel and headed to New York City’s new “reticketing center” for migrants. Here, migrants can get a plane ticket to anywhere in the world. The center is in an old church office building in the East Village. The city is spending an estimated $380 per night to house migrants, and space is running out, so buying a plane ticket has become a “solution.” But when we showed up at 11:00am, we did not find a single person waiting to get into the center. I thought we’d come too late, but I found a sign saying the center opened at 9:00am. Apparently, the migrants don’t want to leave a self-declared sanctuary city, which also guarantees shelter to anyone who needs it.
While the migrants seem in no hurry to leave New York City, we did knowing we would remember what we witnessed. FAIR works on the immigration issue daily, fighting for the country’s future. Seeing the migrant crisis first-hand left a lasting impression on all of us. The border crisis is raging in New York City.