New York Governor Kathy Hochul has announced that Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn will now be used to house up to 2,500 asylum seekers. This decision comes as New York City begins transporting adult men to a new tent shelter on Randall’s Island. Mayor Eric Adams has stated that more than 59,000 asylum seekers are currently under New York City’s care at over 200 different sites.
Hochul expressed her appreciation for this development, as the state had been hoping for this opportunity for several months. The lease for the use of Floyd Bennett Field has not yet been signed, but Hochul sees it as a significant step forward, signaling that the Department of Interior, National Parks, which owns the land, is allowing the use of shelters on their properties. This demonstrates a commitment from the administration in Washington to provide assistance.
By housing migrants at larger sites like Floyd Bennett Field, it will be easier to assist larger numbers in filling out asylum forms, which in turn will help them navigate the process of finding legal work. Hochul sees this as a crucial first step in stabilizing individuals, allowing them to apply for asylum and ultimately granting them the right to work.
The governor also stated that the state will cover the operational costs of Floyd Bennett Field. Additionally, the state has invested $20 million to expedite casework for 30,000 asylum seekers. The ultimate goal of these social services is to support asylum seekers in obtaining legal work status, exiting the shelter system, and transitioning to independent living.
New York State has been providing significant humanitarian aid for over a year and is committed to continuing its support for the city in managing this ongoing crisis. The state has committed $1.5 billion to assist the city’s efforts in sheltering asylum seekers and has deployed over 1,800 members of the New York National Guard to offer logistical and operational support at city-run shelters.
This announcement aims to foster a renewed era of collaboration between local, state, and federal governments in addressing the challenges posed by the increasing number of asylum seekers. The governor and Mayor Adams are advocating for expedited work authorization, a federal declaration of emergency, and a national and state decompression strategy to address the crisis effectively.