Migrants in NYC
People line up to apply for shelter, in New York City AFP

A group of Latino leaders praised the way New York has handled the wave of migrants arriving in the city over the past two years.

The group that met with Mayor Eric Adams included representatives from the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, Alianza Americas and Central American Resource Center, although they said they spoke on behalf of a much larger cohort that includes organization like Dream.US, the Venezuelan American Caucus and several more.

The group visited several shelters for newcomers established by the local administration, including the Roosevelt Hotel, where the meeting with the Mayor took place.

Juan Proaño, executive director of LULAC, said that the path toward legal, safe, and humane migration is severely deteriorated at the moment, adding that "our immigration system is broken and unable to deal with the pressure migration causes on cities, states, and the nation." He did however praise New York City's front line workers for "working tirelessly to find the solution for asylum seekers."

New York Mayor, Eric Adams
New York Mayor, Eric Adams AFP / ANGELA WEISS

The activists, who've also visited several cities where large numbers of migrants have arrived in the past two years, told EFE that others could learn from New York City, as authorities have provided shelter, food, education for children, health services, assistance with asylum applications, and work permits.

Sister Norma Pimentel, executive director of Catholic Charities of Rio Grande Valley, stated that "it is important that we work together to establish a fair response that contributes to our country's well-being", pointing out that measures should not only protect borders and those entering but also establish procedures to uphold human dignity.

Mayor Adams, on the other hand, expressed that New York has helped "tens of thousands file temporary protective status, asylum and work authorization applications", but made sure to point out that the migration crisis is much bigger than the city and, as such, should be considered a national issue:

"There's much more we can do. There's much more we want to do, but we're clear on this. This is a national problem. Cities cannot resolve it on their own. It doesn't matter if it's Denver, Chicago, Boston. We are going to need help and at the heart of this is the right to work. People should have the right to provide for their families and continue to pursue the American dream."

More than 180,000 migrants have arrived in New York City since the spring of 2022, many of them bused from Texas as part of Governor Greg Abbott's "Lone Star" operation, which has sent hundreds of thousands of asylum-seekers to sanctuary cities up north. Along with New York City. Chicago and Denver are among the cities that have seen the most arrivals.

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