NEW YORK (WABC) — The number of people in New York’s shelters is setting new records every day amid the unyielding arrival of asylum seekers bused in from Texas and elsewhere.
On Friday, New York City Mayor Eric Adams declared a state of emergency and announced an executive order suspending land use requirements to help the city deal with the influx of people.
Adams said he was ‘angry’ that the city’s compassion is being ‘exploited by others for political gain’ and that what he called a ‘humanitarian crisis’, according to the mayor, is ‘accelerating by American political dynamics.
There are currently 61,000 people in the shelter system, “straining our ability to care for New Yorkers in need,” Adams said. He expects the city to have spent $1 billion by the end of the fiscal year.
RELATED | Eyewitness News Special: Seeking Asylum in New York
At least 5,500 migrant children have been enrolled in schools in the city.
“While our compassion is limitless, our resources are not,” Adams said during a speech from the Blue Room at City Hall. “It’s unsustainable.”
Of the 61,000 people housed in shelters, 20,000 are children. One in five is an asylum seeker.
More than 17,000 asylum seekers were bused to New York. Five or six buses arrive every day, sometimes more.
Nine were expected at the Port Authority Bus Terminal on Thursday, the highest number in a single day, the chief of the city’s Office of Emergency Management told city council members.
Eyewitness News was there when two more buses arrived Friday morning.
Responding to a media report on the city’s state of emergency, Texas Governor Greg Abbott said he would continue to send buses
“Sanctuary cities like New York are experiencing a FRACTION of what Texas border communities face every day,” he said in a tweet. “We will continue to transport migrants by bus to NYC, DC, & Chicago to relieve our overwhelmed border towns until Biden does his job of securing the border.”
Adams’ office posted the following response:
“We already proved Governor Abbott to be a liar last week. We will continue to trust the asylum seekers who are looking for a better life and not the politician who couldn’t even tell his whole state the truth. during a debate.”
Administration officials told lawmakers Thursday they were considering large hotels and places of worship to temporarily house asylum seekers.
Earlier this weekcity council members suggested the administration look at 10 hotels that are currently closed.
The suggestion came after plans for a visitor center moved from Orchard Beach to Randall’s Islanda site that could only process half the number of asylum seekers, leaving the city looking for more space.
The administration also appealed to churches and community groups this week for help, suggesting an “Adopt-A-Shelter” kind of program where church leaders collect donated items for asylum seekers and distribute them.
City officials say about a third of migrants want to go to another city or state.
Most of the migrants are from Venezuela and most of them want to go to Florida, but Texas does not offer free buses to Florida.
READ ALSO | Who is NYC’s rooftop jumper? Eyewitness News Solves Mystery Behind Viral Daredevil Stunt
* Receive news from eyewitnesses
* Download the abc7NY app for news alerts
Copyright © 2022 WABC-TV. All rights reserved.