Oct 19, 2022 - Politics & Policy

New York City opening first tent camp for migrants

Dormitory beds at the Randall's Island Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Center on Oct. 18. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

New York City's Randalls Island is opening its first tent camp for asylum seekers on Wednesday.

Driving the news: The new facility — spanning more than 84,000 square feet and the city's first outdoor migrant camp — will initially house 500 men and has room for 500 more, according to Gothamist.

  • City officials have framed the shelter as a temporary rest stop for migrants. Though there will be no formal limit, the goal will be that they stay at the facility for about four days, per the New York Times.
  • The facility is equipped with recreation rooms, a cafeteria serving three daily meals and a laundry facility.

The big picture: City officials have argued the new facility is separate from the city's shelter system. The Randalls Island camp doesn't meet some of the city's standards for shelters, such as the requirement that beds be spaced three feet apart, per Gothamist.

  • Migrants will be free to come and go as they please, but the facility will have a 10 p.m. curfew.
  • Officials expect the facility to remain operational so long as buses of migrants continue to arrive in the city, primarily from Texas. "We have no control over that," Emergency Management commissioner Zach Iscol said, Politico reported.
  • Earlier this month, New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D) declared a state of emergency over the bused arrival migrants to the city, mostly from Texas.

What they're saying: "New York City has always been a role model for the nation, and continues to be as we address the asylum seeker crisis," Adams tweeted Tuesday.

  • "We step up to help. That's what we're doing on Randall's Island," he added.
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