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‘This is a humanitarian crisis’: NYC’s Mayor Adams Defends His Migrant Tent City Initiative

Published: October 5, 2022
Large tents were constructed in a parking lot at Orchard Beach in the Bronx on Sept. 28, 2022 in New York City however had to be moved after 3-days of rain brought flooding to the area. The temporary tents were intended to house some of the estimated 13,000 migrants who have been bussed to the city from Texas since August. (Image: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

New York City mayor Eric Adams is on the defensive after the original site for a tent city, intended to house some 13,000 migrants that have been bussed to the city from Texas, flooded following 3-days of rain after warnings that the site was prone to flooding. 

The project was scrapped after only 10 days of construction prompting critics to blast the mayor for what they say was “poor planning.”

Due to the flooding, the site of the tent city is being moved from Orchard Beach to Randall’s Island. 

At an unrelated event at the City College of New York’s main campus in Harlem Adams said, “It’s not about money lost, it’s about using our dollars smartly.”

Adams said he is waiting for exact costs for the initiative saying that, “We don’t do anything prematurely so you can say, ‘Eric lied on the cost.’ So, we’re going to give it once we get it.”

Defensively, Adam’s added, “This is a humanitarian crisis!” adding that, “A lot of people have never dealt with humanitarian crises before. Realize that you have to make the right decision.”


New York has been buckling under the weight of thousands of migrants who crossed the southern border illegally and were subsequently bussed to the city by Texas Governor Greg Abbott in an apparent attempt to both ease the burden on southern border towns and demonstrate the challenges Texas communities are facing. 

According to data, published by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, this fiscal year, authorities had over 2.2 million encounters with people attempting to cross into the U.S. illegally and had encounters with over 13 thousand unaccompanied minors, at the southern border, in the month of July 2022 alone.

The Daily News reported that prior to construction beginning at the original site, Bronx Borough President, Vanessa Gibson, was quick to voice concerns about the tent city’s original location, arguing that the Bronx site was prone to flooding while other Assemblymembers pointed out that the site was an hour by bus to the nearest grocery store and wouldn’t be habitable in a few short months when winter weather arrived. 

Others are voicing concerns regarding the new location, Randall’s Island, saying that it too is prone to flooding and while the island is already home to several homeless shelters and safety net facilities and is reachable by bus and a pedestrian bridge, it lacks subway access. 

State Sen. Julia Salazar tweeted, “Does anyone else remember that year at Governor’s Ball on Randall’s Island when a mere rainstorm completely flooded the island for days and destroyed the grounds?” adding that, “This sounds like a disaster. Please abandon the refugee camp idea and place people in real housing instead.”

When asked when the new site would be opened Adam’s responded “The day I say it opens,” the NY Post reported.