New York City has launched an emergency tent shelter to provide shelter for an influx of asylum seekers being bussed into the city by the Republican leaders of Texas and other US states in advance of critical midterm elections early next month.
Africa Daily News, New York reports that the first arrivals were brought on Wednesday to the Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Center on Randall’s Island, which will serve as a temporary home for 500 single migrant men, according to the city.
The asylum seekers were dropped off in New York City after long journeys that began in Venezuela and other countries south of the United States border with Mexico, which has seen an increase in arrivals in recent months.
They were bussed in as part of a high-profile campaign by Republican governors seeking to put a spotlight on the record number of border crossings. Rights advocates have slammed the buses as an inhumane political stunt.
Spartan and utilitarian, the New York City shelter includes cots, laundry facilities, a dining hall, and phones for residents to make international calls.
‘The history of this country has always been tied to welcoming those who are fleeing harm,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams said in a video posted on Twitter on Wednesday about the facility.
‘New York City has always been a role model on how to effectively use our infrastructure to address a crisis and make sure we treat people in a humane way and that is what we have done,’ he added.
The Republican governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, in April began bussing asylum seekers to democratic-run cities, including New York City, Washington, DC, and Chicago, in protest of President Joe Biden’s border policies.
Abbott, who is seeking a third term in November’s US midterms, has said the campaign aims to share the burden of hosting asylum seekers.
So far, he has bussed more than 3,000 migrants to New York City, while the city of El Paso, which sits across the border from Juarez, Mexico, has bussed roughly 7,000 migrants to New York City since late August.
The influx has put a strain on New York City’s shelter system