Mayor Eric Adams revealed “The Road Forward: Blueprint to Address New York City’s Response to the Asylum Seeker Crisis” on Tuesday, March 7th. This will be the framework the city will follow regarding the arrival and catering of asylum seeking migrants in the city. Mayor Adams announced he will be creating a new office called the Office of Asylum Seeker Operations (OASO) that will continue with the city’s work of resettling asylum seekers and providing them with legal services. The OASO will look to operate with community based organizations and create a connection between all city agencies.
The OASO will operate a new arrival center, relieving the stress on the current Port Authority operations location for asylum seekers. This new center will operate 24 hours a day and will serve as a safe arrival point providing the necessary information for migrants. Last year, New York City became the hub for the arrival of asylum seeking migrants.
According to the mayor’s office, there are currently 30,000 migrants under the city’s care.
Upon announcing the new blueprint for New York City, Mayor Adams said, “Over the past year, New York City has faced an unprecedented humanitarian crisis caused by global forces beyond our control.”
He continued, “We have moved mountains to help the tens of thousands who arrived as our shelter population has increased at a dramatic rate. As we continue to respond, I’m proud to announce, ‘The Road Forward,’ our blueprint to address the asylum seeker crisis and outline the work that lies ahead. New Yorkers know that the asylum seeker of today is the citizen, the leader, and the innovator of tomorrow, and I’m proud that New York City is leading the way, turning a crisis into an opportunity for progress for the entire country.”
The Road Forward will look to create housing and work opportunities. Under this initiative, the city will form a partnership with The Center for Discovery and SUNY Sullivan. The partnership will see 100 asylum seekers offered the chance to reside at the SUNY Sullivan campus and get workforce training while waiting on the federal work authorization process.
The city will look to create an environment in which asylum seekers are actively aware of their status regarding receiving work permits. Occupational Safety and Health Administration training will be offered to asylum seekers as preparation for employment.
At the press conference announcing the blueprint, New York City Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Manuel Castro said, “Since last year, New York City mobilized a colossal operation to coordinate an efficient and humane response to support asylum seekers. This effort would not be possible without the leadership of Mayor Eric Adams and the coordination of scores of city agencies and offices, community partners, and everyday New Yorkers.”
Castro continued, “No other city in the nation has responded to this scale. Today, we are proud to move forward and outline this administration’s next steps to continue to respond with dignity and care, and uphold our values as a welcoming city for immigrants.”
The migrant crisis proved to be an extremely difficult challenge for New York City. Under “The Road Forward,” the city will continue requesting various forms of assistance from the federal and state governments. From the federal level, the city will continue asking for the granting of the expedited right to work and ensure asylum seeking migrants are provided with a legal pathway to living in the US. From the state government, the city will be looking for the passing of a state of emergency and the creation of a new portable housing voucher program.