One hundred or more asylum seekers arrive the crack of dawn at Port Authority each day. Some days, caravans of three or more buses travel from the southern border with their tired and their poor. Since August 5, over 7,300 have arrived, many directed to an already over-extended shelter system.
“It has been nearly a month since New York City called attention to the issue of Texas Governor Abbott’s busing asylum seekers to New York,” said Murad Awawdeh, of the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) on the steps of City Hall last week.
At a rally of immigrant advocates and groups this past Friday, Awawdeh, NYIC Executive Director, drew attention to the lack of a coordinated response between Federal, State and City agencies in meeting the needs of these new arrivals.
Under a blazing sun, City Council Member Shahana Hanif, Immigrant Committee Chair said, “We cannot keep relying on a patchwork of mutual aid organizations and immigrant rights groups, we need a robust and coordinated response from all levels of government,” She called for federal action both is providing assistance and addressing the southern border crisis.
Government officials spoke as well as representatives from immigrant support organizations calling on the state and city to help with housing, legal services, and support for the network of social services to assist these new arrivals. It emphasized the need for providing monies to community-based organizations so they can continue offering their support services.
This rally was the launch of New York Immigration Coalition’s Welcoming New York Campaign, a federal, state and local advocacy campaign to keep pressure on every level of government to ensure a quicker and more efficient response to the pressing needs of new arrivals.
The Campaign is an effort to ensure that every asylum seeker who makes it to New York has the services, shelter, and care that they need to not only survive but thrive. Its website (www.nyic.org/our-work/campaigns/welcoming-new-york) reads: we use this opportunity to demonstrate to the rest of the country that welcoming immigrants helps strengthen New York.
Ex-Brit turned Manhattan resident since 2008.