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New York City opens resource center for asylum seekers

Mayor Adams says NYC needs help with influx of asylum seekers
Mayor Adams says NYC needs help with influx of asylum seekers 03:47

NEW YORK -- There has been an exponential increase in asylum seekers arriving in the city.

That spike means the city's shelter system is quickly approaching its breaking point. Mayor Eric Adams now must reassess how to cope with the crisis.

On Thursday, he opened a new resources center and asked for more help dealing with the problem. Republican governors are sending asylum seekers and migrants to Democratic-led cities. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis flew migrants to Martha's Vineyard on Wednesday night and early Thursday morning, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott bused asylum seekers and migrants to an area outside Vice President Kamala Harris' residence in Washington D.C.

CBS2's Marcia Kramer has more on what stunts like those are doing to New York City.

READ MOREImmigration advocates call for $4M investment to support migrants entering New York City schools

The first thing you need to know is that even though the influx of asylum seekers has the shelter system bursting at the seams, Mayor Adams is not going to change the city's open-door policy. However, he does want to find some way to tame Republican governors like Abbott and DeSantis.

"We need help. We have not been ashamed to say that," Adams said. "We need people to use their legal minds to see how do we challenge this behavior from these rogue governors."

Adams slammed his tormentors, even as he opened the first Asylum Seeker Resource Navigation Center to cope with an ever-increasing number of asylum seekers sent to the Big Apple by Abbott, a whopping 11,600 so far, increasing from one bus every other day to the six buses that arrived at the Port Authority Bus Terminal on Wednesday.

"We are going to have open doors to them, not close the doors in their faces like we're seeing in other parts of this country. A lot of American dreams are going to start right here," Adams said.

READ MOREImmigration advocates call on federal, state and city agencies to increase aid for migrants bused from Texas

But with the city already forced to open 23 hotels, it is reassessing how it delivers services more efficiently. Sources told Kramer that a special task force has been assigned to come up with new ways of housing the migrants, including maybe finding unused dormitory space or creating some place like Camp LaGuardia, the upstate facility used during the Giuliani and Bloomberg administrations to house the homeless.

"We did not say that we're reassessing the right to shelter. What we said was that we're reassessing the city's practices with respect to the right to shelter," said Brendan McGuire, chief counsel to the mayor.

The new center, operated by Catholic Charities, is intended to serve as a central place where newly arrived asylum seekers will receive legal services and resources to help them integrate and thrive in the city.

But it opened even as Republican governors stepped up their hijinks. Abbott sent buses of asylum seekers to Harris' residence at the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington. DeSantis sent planes with 50 migrants to the Vineyard, home to top Democrats like former President Barack Obama and John Kerry, President Joe Biden's climate envoy.

Watch Tim McNicholas' report

NYC officials reassessing how to cope with influx of asylum seekers 02:35

Luis Fonseca says he left Venezuela for a better life for his children, and he didn't know he'd end up at Martha's Vineyard.

"They told me there was a work opportunity ... We were going to a city, but we ended up staying here," he said in Spanish.

DeSantis defended the move.

"We take what's happening at the Southern border very seriously. Our message to them is we're not a sanctuary state," DeSantis said.

"The Republican party, they have created a blueprint that all of them are starting to follow. It's inhumane for the governor to send immigrants to Martha's Vineyard without any coordination. It is just creating a real crisis and that is the problem. This is a blueprint that you're going to see start unfolding," Adams said.

The mayor has also launched a campaign to speed up federal processing of work permits, so the asylum seekers can get jobs and possibly pay for their own housing. Kathy Hochul has said there are thousands of jobs all over the state that are ready and waiting.

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