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    Roosevelt Hotel migrants: Asylum seekers sleeping outside, stretching around Roosevelt Hotel’s New York City block

    MIDTOWN (WABC) — The Roosevelt Hotel processing center for newly arrived migrants has reached capacity in Midtown Manhattan.

    The hotel has a dual purpose — it is an arrival center for migrants where they can get access to vaccines, food and other resources — but it is also a humanitarian relief center that is housing families with children.

    On Monday morning, asylum seekers were sleeping on the sidewalks winding around the hotel’s block at 46th and Vanderbilt.

    Mayor Eric Adams’ office says scenes like this could be more common as the city continues to grapple with the number of migrants who are here and continue to arrive. He warned the strain on the city will only get worse.

    The city has a legal obligation to provide shelter to anyone who requests it and the Legal Aid Society is threatening to file litigation to enforce the law, since it looks like the city is failing to meet its obligation in a timely manner if people are sleeping on the streets.

    The mayor’s office says the city is currently caring for 50,000 migrants but more than 93,000 asylum seekers have come through the city’s intake system since last spring.

    “So here’s where we are right now. Yes, there were people sleeping in vans, cooling vans, there were people along the sidewalk, we have to localize this madness. We have to figure out a way of how we don’t have what’s in other municipalities. When you have tent cities all over the city, we have to go to our next phase of this strategy,” Mayor Adams said Monday. “Now that we have run out of room, we have to figure out how we’re going to localize of the inevitable that there’s no more room indoors. And we have to figure that out. And that’s what I got the team working on right now. And when we roll out to next phase of this, I’m going to publicly announce it. But I can assure you that this city is not going to look like other cities with their tents up and down every street.”

    Migrants say the journey has been exhausting and this situation is not ideal, but they’re ready to start their new lives.

    “Obviously we want to work, we just need permission to work,” one man said.

    Staff members at the center in the hotel run by NYC Health + Hospitals are distributing some food and water, but an asylum seeker from Senegal said through a translator the dayslong wait has been tough — mostly because of the uncertainty.

    Another man said he just feels privileged to be in New York and just wants to get on his feet — but that means being able to work legally, something Mayor Adams continues to push the federal government to expedite.

    “There’s nothing more anti-American than you can’t work,” Adams said.

    The mayor says he’s had some very productive conversations with the city’s congressional delegation and Homeland Security but the federal help still isn’t adequate. He says the federal government needs to treat it as the national crisis that it is and declare a state of emergency.

    Officials are encouraging migrants to take placements outside the city once they become available.

    ALSO READ | City investigating ‘unique’ crane fire, collapse in Manhattan


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