A group of undocumented migrants who entered the United States via its southern border are refusing to leave their Watson Hotel rooms for relocation to the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal. In protest, the migrants have taken to sleeping in the street. Some migrants complied, but many stood their ground and would not leave the Hell's Kitchen hotel. They began rallying outside along with migrant activists.
Mayor Eric Adams responded to the situation by stating, "This weekend, we began the process of moving single adult men from the Watson Hotel to Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, as we transition the hotel to meet the large number of asylum-seeking families with children. More than 42,000 asylum seekers have arrived in New York City since last spring, and we continue to surpass our moral obligations as we provide asylum seekers with shelter, food, health care, education, and a host of other services."
A number of migrants who ventured to the new accommodations immediately returned to the Watson Hotel, complaining of an absence of heat and bathroom facilities. The city, in response, assured the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal has adequate heat and bathroom provisions.
Online photographs and videos show the new center with cots packed in tight rows. Isaac Castellano, a Venezuelan national, told Newsweek that there was little privacy, only four bathrooms for more than 400 people, no place to store the one personal suitcase they were allowed to bring and no outlets for them to charge their phones. He added, "I was promised a more stable place to stay, here at the Watson. I feel like I was lied to. We do not want to sleep there like some dogs. We want a better quality of life."
A spokesperson for Mayor Adams states the Brooklyn facility has approximately 85 -90 on-site toilets, is a heated, temperature-controlled facility and that each person housed at the terminal has an assigned storage space.
Migrants have erected tents near the hotel's entrance. Currently, there is a strong police presence outside the Watson Hotel as they remain. 57th Street is blocked off between 9th and 10th Avenues. As of this writing, there are no plans to forcibly vacate the migrants from their encampment.
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