Trucks arrive in the Bronx to begin construction of huge tent city for 1,000 illegal immigrants
Construction workers in the Bronx were beginning on Monday to build the first of two tent cities, designed to host the 13,000 migrants who have been bussed since August into the city from Texas.
Eric Adams, the mayor of New York City, last week announced the creation of the tents to house the influx of migrants.
One site would be Orchard Beach in the Bronx, he said, and the second had not yet been determined.
Yet on Monday, as construction was underway, the Bronx president said she was concerned about the new development – both the impact it would have on her community, and the safety of all those involved.
Workers in hardhats were seen carrying metal poles that were delivered on trucks – as others drilled into the ground and prepped for the construction of the tents.
Vanessa Gibson warned that Orchard Beach frequently floods, and pointed out that the location was isolated, without access to public transport.
Tents arrive on trucks as workers set up the ‘cities’ within the Bronx to house the migrants
Groups of workmen are seen on Monday at the Bronx site
Workers in the Bronx are seen on Monday beginning work on the first of two tent camps to house migrants
It is unclear how many migrants the tents, pictured being built on Monday, will house
Workers are seen at Orchard Beach preparing the site of the migrant camp on Monday
Rental agencies are seen brining in equipment to the Orchard Beach site on Monday
Workers are pictured measuring the site on Monday – one of two to be constructed in NYC
An example of the type of site Eric Adams plans to open to house the thousands of migrants arriving every day. One will go in the Bronx and a second location is yet to be confirmed. Adams claimed it as a moral victory. The tents include rows of beds with thin-looking sheets in an outdoor tent, just as winter approaches
An aerial view of an example site. Adams, claiming it as a moral victory, said the issue needed to be treated like a humanitarian crisis
Migrants are seen on Monday arriving in New York City from Texas, having boarded buses put on by the governor, Greg Abbott
The Federal Emergency Management Agency considers the entire Orchard Beach parking lot a ‘special flood hazard area.’
The city also lists the parking lot as a ‘Zone 1’ hurricane evacuation area, meaning it’s especially vulnerable to dangerous flooding during storms.
Vanessa Gibson, president of the Bronx, said she had concerns about the tent camp in her district
‘While this is not the ideal location and we have raised reasonable concerns, my team and I are working with the Adams administration to ensure that any site designated for our borough has wraparound services,’ she said in a statement.
‘These services must be provided in a dignified, humane, quality, and safe space that does not do further harm nor add burden to clients and families.
‘Under these emergency circumstances, we will work together with the administration in a balanced and strategic manner to ensure the Bronx is not overburdened.’
Adams’ team said they will provide a shuttle bus for migrants to get to public transport. They have not responded to concerns about flooding.
A spokeswoman for the mayor told The New York Daily News she would not comment directly on Gibson’s statement, but said 50 sites across all five boroughs were evaluated before the administration approved the Orchard Beach location.
Adams touted the plan last week as a victory and proof that he understands his ‘moral duty’ to the thousands of mainly Venezuelan migrants currently arriving in New York City every week.
His press release failed to give specifics of when the sites will open or, crucially, how many beds they will contain.
The Orchard Beach site is expected to open within a few weeks.
Meanwhile, thousands of migrants continue to be sent every week from Texas and Florida, where Republican leaders say it’s time Democrats like Adams understand the true scale of the crisis.
Migrants are pictured on Monday arriving in New York City
Many of the migrants arriving in the United States at the moment have traveled from Venezuela
One of Adams’ proposed sites is near Orchard Beach, on the peripheries of the city
In addition to the two migrant sites, Adams has awarded a $34 million contract to Bronx Family Network to set up beds for both migrants and the homeless in the same area.
Adams, claiming the new relief sites will help absolve the problem in New York, said in a press release on Thursday: ‘More than 100 years ago, Ellis Island opened its doors to welcome in those ‘yearning to breathe free.’
‘Now, more than ever, it’s clear that we are again dealing with a humanitarian crisis created by human hands.
Adams says it’s unfair for leaders in Texas and Florida to send the migrants to him – despite NYC being the top of all of their lists for refuge
‘While other leaders have abdicated their moral duty to support arriving asylum seekers, New York City refuses to do so,’ he said.
In photos of an example site, cot beds are shown lined up in rows in the outdoor tent.
Adams said they’d only stay there for up to 96 hours, then be moved on to their desired ‘settlement’ sites.
‘This is not an everyday homelessness crisis, but a humanitarian crisis that requires a different approach,’ he said.
‘That’s why the Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Centers will be the first touchpoint for asylum seekers that will provide them with a range of services and support as families determine their next steps.
‘This emergency response represents what we know must be done during this humanitarian crisis, as we continue to seek assistance from our federal and state partners to continue this work.
‘Like the generations that came to our city before, New York will provide the thousands now coming to our city with the foundation to build a better life,’ Adams said.