New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced on Wednesday that the city will open a seventh Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Center (HERC) in yet another high-end hotel to address the ongoing illegal immigrant crisis there.
The latest will be located at the three-star Wingate by Wyndham hotel in Long Island City, Queens, which will provide all of its 144 rooms on 16 floors to assist illegal immigrant families with children, according to a City of New York statement released on Feb. 15.
“New York City is caring for more asylum seekers than any other city in the United States,” Adams said in the statement. “This seventh humanitarian relief center will help us continue to do that work.”
According to city hall, at least 45,600 asylum seekers have arrived in the city over the past 10 months, a number that Adams said “surpassed the total number of people who were in the city’s shelter system when I took office.”
On Feb. 7, the mayor announced the opening of a sixth HERC, which provides 492 rooms for adult families and single adult women at a 50-story Holiday Inn in the Financial District of Manhattan, the tallest Holiday Inn in the world, according to the New York Post.
There, the illegal immigrants “will receive $190-a-night rooms at the four-star hotel until May 2024, according to court documents,” Fox News reported.
Shortly before the sixth HERC at the Holiday Inn was in place, the largest center thus far was opened at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in Red Hook with 1,000 rooms to serve single adult men.
The terminal will operate as a HERC until spring, when cruise season begins, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported.
The newest HERC is patterned after the “successful” and previously established HERCs set up at the Row NYC Hotel (4-stars), the Stewart Hotel (4-stars), and the Watson Hotel (3.5-stars), which are offering services such as childhood vaccinations and enrollment in public school, according to Dr. Ted Long, who is assisting Adams’s administration with the illegal immigrants as senior vice president of Ambulatory Care and Population Health at New York City Health + Hospitals, the largest public health care system in the United States.
“Since this humanitarian crisis began, the city has taken fast and urgent action … with virtually no coordination from the states sending them,” the Feb. 15 City of New York statement said.
In addition to the now seven HERCs, the city has opened 85 hotels as emergency shelters.
The mayor also called on the federal government to do more to help his administration deal with the illegal immigrant issue, saying, “It’s clear that New York City is in dire need of more support from our federal partners.”
On the same day that he announced the opening of the city’s seventh HERC, the mayor traveled to Albany to testify on the state budget before the New York state Senate Finance and Assembly Ways and Means Committees.
Caring for the illegal immigrants “has been an unbelievable strain on city services,” Adams told the lawmakers. “We are at the breaking point.”
Though Adams acknowledged that Democratic New York Gov. Kathy Hochul “has recognized the magnitude of this crisis and has offered state support,” he projected that the costs to his city associated with the situation will reach $4 billion by the middle of next year.
“We’ll need more than the approximately $1.2 billion in state and federal funds we believe will come our way,” he said.