Op-Ed | Supporting NYC’s asylum seekers

Newly arrived migrants peer through a bus window at Port Authority.
Photo by Dean Moses

New York is a city of immigrants. We are made up of hundreds of cultures, more than 700 languages, and people born in more than 150 countries. Immigrants keep our cultural life vibrant and our economy running strong. They are the past, present, and future of New York City. 

As New Yorkers know, we have seen an influx of asylum seekers arriving in our city over the past several months. Migrants from the United States’ Southern border have been placed on buses and sent to our streets in record numbers. 

New York City is doing everything in our power to support the newly arrived asylum seekers. We are working around the clock to provide medical care, food, and a safe place to stay. In the past weeks, my Administration has set up 48 emergency shelter sites. We have opened a navigation center to offer case management, settlement options, vaccinations, and more. As of Oct. 12, we have provided assistance to over 19,400 asylum seekers.

But New York City is running out of space in our shelter system. We are now housing a record number of people—and more are arriving every single day. We expect to spend more than $1 billion this fiscal year on support. This is putting a strain on our resources as we continue to provide essential services like education, healthcare, and sanitation to the 8.8 million New Yorkers who are already here and who rely on us for essential services. We need more help to fund all of these priorities. That’s why I have asked the federal government and the State of New York for assistance. 

But let me be clear: we will not give up. We will not change our fundamental values. We will continue to support those who arrive on our city’s shores.

I want to thank every New Yorker who has volunteered their time and opened their hearts to help our newly arrived brothers and sisters. I also want to recognize our city agencies who have gone above and beyond in the face of this unprecedented event. New Yorkers have risen to the occasion, as they always do. I am so grateful to everyone who has been part of the response.

New Yorkers know that diversity is our strength, and it is my privilege to celebrate all of our cultures as your mayor. Just this weekend, I joined our Italian community to celebrate the contributions of Italians and Italian-Americans to our city. Every borough and every block in this city has benefited from their hard work and community spirit.

Whether we are Italian, Venezuelan, or Indian we all share a title: we’re New Yorkers. We’re made from the best stuff on earth.