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Asylum seekers camp outside Roosevelt Hotel for 2nd night after being told the Manhattan relief center is at capacity

Asylum seekers camp outside Roosevelt Hotel for 2nd night
Asylum seekers camp outside Roosevelt Hotel for 2nd night 02:17

NEW YORK -- Asylum seekers camped outside the Roosevelt Hotel for a second straight night Saturday as the Manhattan relief center is at capacity. 

Overnight, buses pulled up to the hotel and some asylum seekers were able to spend the night on board. But many waited all day in the heat and rain, without knowing what would happen next.

Things got contentious Saturday night with asylum seekers pushing to get inside the hotel while a small group of workers tried to manage the crowd. 

"They tell us there is no room. There is going to be like, they're all full. We have to wait. Maybe two weeks, maybe two days, who knows?" Mohamed Mokhtar said. "They give us the ticket. They said they're going to call us and they didn't."

Community affairs officers were called in to keep things under control. The line went down the block and around the corner, and was moving slowly.

Throughout the day, men and women napped, ate or did whatever they needed to pass the time.

The Roosevelt Hotel fed asylum seekers, and trash was left behind as the hours passed.

Asylum seekers prepare to camp out for 2nd night outside Roosevelt Hotel 02:24

"We're put on the street. They have to do something to help us," one man said in Spanish.

A spokesperson for the mayor's office sent CBS New York the following statement:

"As we've said for a while now, with more than 93,000 asylum seekers coming through our intake system since last spring, our teams run out of space every single day and we do our best to offer placements wherever we have space available. Children and families continue to be prioritized and are found a bed every night. While we at least offered all adults a temporary place to wait off the sidewalks last night, some may have chosen to sleep outside and, in all honesty, New Yorkers may continue to see that more and more as hundreds of asylum seekers continue to arrive each day. We still desperately need help from our state and federal partners, but, in the meantime, we encourage migrants to take us up placements available outside of New York City as they become available."

Saturday was quite the scorcher. MTA buses lined East 45th Street in front of the hotel for people to cool off. By the time the rain came, buses were gone and folks had to fend for themselves.

"I think it's incredibly unfortunate that this where we're at over a year after we started to see an increase of asylum seekers coming to New York," said Murad Awawdeh, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition. "We need to get out of this emergent moment and this emergent way of thinking and start thinking for the long-term and being able to get people out of this emergency shelter and pseudo-shelter situation and into permanent housing."

We're told children and families are being given beds every night. Although some asylum seekers decided to wait on the sidewalk until their numbers were called, the city spokesperson says they were offered a place to wait.

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