Outside the Watson Hotel in New York City, newly arrived migrants of all walks of life and of all ages come together outside their new temporary home. They share their dreams and their struggles. Many say they fled their home countries due to economic or political hardships.
Gisel is one of more than 113,000 migrants who arrived in the city over the last 18 months. Many of them were bussed over from Texas or Florida. After a treacherous two and a half month expedition, Gisel said her family is lucky they got into housing, adding that not everyone has the same experience. "There are a lot of people with their kids on the streets and it shouldn’t be that way," said Gisel.
"I don’t see an ending to this. This issue will destroy NYC," said NYC Mayor Eric Adams.
It's a crisis dividing parties and communities. State and city leaders scrambled to open more than 200 shelters and 11 humanitarian relief centers to house migrants across the state, but not everyone is welcoming.
"I'm here to protest this homeless shelter for these illegal aliens. They don't belong here on Staten Island," said Jimmy Gill, a Staten Island resident.
Mayor Adams estimates feeding and sheltering migrants over the next three years will cause a $12 billion deficit.
Every service in this city is going to be impacted," said Adams.
Both Adams and fellow Democrat New York Gov. Kathy Hochul are calling on President Biden to take executive action to help cope with the influx of migrants by providing federal assistance and expediting temporary work authorizations for newly arrived migrants.
"If we have a crisis of anything it’s a crisis of leadership in this moment. We need our elected leaders to lead and to actually be solution oriented," said Murad Awawdeh, the executive director of the NY Immigration Coalition.
Awawdeh says the number of migrants in the city only make up only a fraction of the population that left the city or died during the pandemic.
"Immigrants have made this city, have made this state and continue to contribute over $60 billion a year in tax revenue," said Awawdeh.
Some Migrants have picked up low-paying jobs like selling food or cleaning homes. Many say the pay they get is not enough to cover rent, which often requires a substantial deposit and proof of income just to move in.
"It’s hard, but I am a Venezuelan who came to fight for what I want. I’m not someone who takes advantage of state resources," said Escalona, a migrant from Venezuela.
Gisel plans to apply for asylum and like many here, she hopes a work permit is approved to help alleviate what many here call a migrant crisis.
"It’s necessary because one comes to work, we want to work so we can support our family," said Gisel.
Trending stories at Scrippsnews.com