New York City officials plan to shutter the Randall's Island tent shelter built to mitigate a surprise influx of over 23,000 relocated migrants after recent changes to the Biden administration's immigration policies curtailed the overall number of incoming arrivals, The New York Times reports.
Many of the migrants were Venezuelans that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) had bused to New York in protest of President Biden's border policies. In October, New York City Mayor Eric Adams estimated the city would spend up to $1 billion to lessen the strain the unprecedented arrivals had put on its shelter system.
The tent shelter, which was built to house 500 single adult men, officially opened last month. As of last week, however, it remained largely unused, the Times reports. And by the time construction had finished, the number of migrants arriving in the city dropped dramatically compared to the beginning of the crisis, ostensibly because the Biden administration had begun sending new arrivals back to Mexico.
Officials said last week that only 170 people were living in the shelter, some of which were West African migrants. Isa Isadoup, one of the tent's recent occupants, praised the shelter's amenities, which include phones for international calls, televisions, and areas to play video games, per the Times. Isadoup said the tent was spacious and clean compared to the overcrowded apartment he left behind.
On Thursday, the city said tent occupants would be provided with "transportation to the Watson Hotel in Midtown Manhattan, whose 600 rooms would now be used to house asylum seekers," the Times summarizes.