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NYC migrants refuse to leave midtown hotel, citing inhumane conditions at new Brooklyn shelter

New York City officials are in a standoff with a group of migrant men who refuse to be relocated from a Midtown hotel into the recently opened barracks-style shelter at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, The New York Times reports. 

The men have been camping out in front of the Watson Hotel in protest, citing inhumane conditions at the Red Hook facility. Some men refusing to leave said they heard the shelter has no heat and lacked privacy or a safe place to put their belongings, per the Times. Earlier this month, Mayor Eric Adams announced that the temporary shelter in the cruise terminal would open with 1,000 beds and have similar services as other emergency relief sites, like the short-lived tent facility on Randall's Island that shut down after only a month. 

In response to Adams's announcement, the Legal Aid Society and the Coalition for the Homeless released a joint statement that argued that the Brooklyn facility would "needlessly expose future residents to the elements during some of the coldest months of the year." The groups added, "Continuing to move asylum seekers around the boroughs like chess pieces is callous and indicative of City Hall's failure to competently manage this crisis."

Shahana Hanif, chair of the City Council immigration committee, said the Red Hook facility did not meet the requirements of NYC's right-to-shelter laws. "We know that the needs of asylum seekers cannot be met in this setting," Hanif said, per the Times. "I call on the administration to abandon this model and prioritize keeping people in proper brick-and-mortar facilities."

A video posted on Twitter of the facility showed cots lined up in rows with little room between them, unlike regular city shelters that require more space between beds, the Times reports.