New York, NY – A New York Police Department (NYPD) building in Gramercy Park has been converted into a shelter to accommodate hundreds of migrants who have been shipped to the city from the southern border.
The makeshift shelter was erected in the first-floor gymnasium of the nine-story working police facility on East 20th Street, the New York City Patch reported.
Although officials initially vowed the facility would only be used to house males, sources said women, children, and families are among those staying there, according to Spectrum News.
“That is not an appropriate place for children,” said Women In Need CEO and President Christine Quinn, who is also a former New York City councilmember.
“The city cannot shelter families with children in congregate settings,” the Legal Aid Society told Spectrum News. “Private sleeping quarters are required for families’ safety, for mothers to privately nurse newborns, to reduce the transmission of infectious diseases, and to prevent sexual assault.”
New York City Police Benevolent Association (PBA) President Patrick Lynch said the city’s decision to place hundreds of asylum seekers in an operating police facility was a colossal mistake.
“It is a significant risk to house civilians in an active, working police facility, which means a large contingent of police officers will need to be posted there for both the safety of the migrants and the security of the building,” Lynch said in a statement, according to the New York City Patch.
The supposed solution simply dumped yet another societal problem onto police, he added.
“It’s a waste of resources and a frankly inhumane arrangement,” Lynch said. “This decision needs to be rethought.”
One NYPD officer serving in Manhattan told the New York Post the situation “will be a security nightmare.”
“They will have to put cops at all the doorways, plus over a hundred cops are assigned there with lockers where they have their guns,” the officer said.
He noted that very little is known about the migrants who are being housed in the police facility.
“None of these people have been vetted,” he told the New York Post.
NYPD Sergeant Manuel Gomez, a former Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) special agent, expressed similar concerns.
“There is no protocol, there’s no system in place to be able to identify and to detect if there is an imminent threat to the city, the country, and the other immigrants that are literally here because of real issues that they have in their country,” Sgt. Gomez told Spectrum News.
A retired NYPD officer further noted that the bathrooms and shower facilities are situated on an entirely different floor from where the migrants will be staying.
“What genius came up with this idea?” he asked the New York Post. “Doesn’t anyone think these things out?”
Venezuela national Giovanni Garcia, who is seeking asylum in the United States, said he is pleased with the accommodations at the NYPD facility, especially in comparison to the immigration detention center where he had been staying after crossing into the U.S.
“It’s a five-star hotel,” Garcia told Spectrum News.
At least 60,000 migrants have arrived in New York City over the past year, according to the New York Post.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams has blasted Texas Governor Greg Abbott for continuing to send busloads of asylum seekers to the Big Apple and other self-proclaimed sanctuary cities in recent months, the New York City Patch reported.
Adams has also accused Abbott of “targeting” cities that have mayors who are black.
“Not only is this behavior morally bankrupt and devoid of any concern for the well-being of asylum seekers, but it is also impossible to ignore the fact that Abbott is now targeting five cities run by Black mayors,” Adams said in a statement. “Put plainly, Abbott is using this crisis to hurt Black-run cities.”
Abbott’s office pushed back against Adams’ claims, calling them “falsehoods and outright lies,” WABC reported.
“He knows full well these migrants willingly chose to go to New York City since his staff saw firsthand on their secret trip to Texas last year as migrants raised their hands to go on buses to his sanctuary city,” the Texas governor’s spokesperson said. “Migrants also sign a voluntary consent waiver available in multiple languages upon boarding that they agree on the destination.”
Abbott’s office pointed out that Adams was one of many Democratic mayors who proclaimed migrants would be accepted into their cities with open arms.
“[These migrants] were processed and released by the federal government, which dumped them in small Texas border towns,” his spokesperson told WABC. “Mayor Adams, along with [Washington, DC] Mayor Muriel Bowser, [Chicago] Mayor [Lori] Lightfoot, and [Philadelphia] Mayor [Jim] Kenney, was proud to tout their self-declared sanctuary city status until Texas began busing migrants to New York City, Washington, D.C., Chicago, and Philadelphia to provide relief to our overrun and overwhelmed border communities.”