The U.S. city has received about 42,000 immigrants in recent months, who have been housed in shelters.
Courtesy | The currently vacant Watson Hotel will be used to house families
Venezuelan immigrants who recently arrived in New York City have been sleeping on the street for two days, braving the winter cold, to protest their eviction from a Manhattan hotel.
According to information provided by a Spanish news agency, the site served as a refuge for another shelter that did not meet the conditions for living.
“There’s no heat, it’s cold, the mattresses sink, the beds are so close, you never know who’s next to you; There is nowhere to store your belongings, you have to cross the street to take a shower and stand in line,” many migrants lamented.
Tents, suitcases, clothes, blankets or bicycles were the possessions of these angry settlers, all men, in front of the Watson Hotel, in the well-known area of Hell’s Kitchen, where they lived for several months. New York, Texas Governor Greg Abbott brought several ambassadors to town on buses.
The city has received about 42,000 migrants in recent months, who are housed in shelters.
A table with hot coffee, fruit and other snacks is on the pavement table, contributed by activists who support them and help with translation.
A note under the door
Several Venezuelans said they were surprised last Tuesday to be informed by hotel management in a paper that went under the door of their room between January 28 and 31 telling them to leave the place.
Two days later, a public list was issued with the identification number assigned to them and the day and time they had to leave the hotel.
The mayor’s office, as it happened this Monday, began sending buses to pick them up and take them to their new location at the cruise ship terminal in Brooklyn, which has been converted into a temporary shelter for single men.
The currently vacant Watson Hotel will be used to accommodate families with children
“We went there (Brooklyn), but we came back and it’s not a good place to live,” said Eduardo Girón, who had been sleeping on the sidewalk for two days with at least a hundred other people, who were reassured when they came inside. He told New Yorkers not to worry that the “US government” would give them “decent housing for two years”.
“They said: relax, that’s why we started looking for work”, many people could not reach because of the lack of necessary documents. Due to delays in obtaining documents, some immigrants chose to go to Canada.
Jose Daniel Martinez is one of the protest group. He said that he came to the hotel after finishing his work at a restaurant around seven o’clock on Sunday evening.
“They told me I have to leave today at two o’clock in the afternoon,” said Martinez, 19, who had been living in the hotel for two months, joining his companions on the sidewalk.
The Reverend Eric Salgado, a representative of the Office of Immigration Affairs, arrived at the site to hear the complaints, reminding them that it is only a temporary place while a hotel like the shelter finds them a place.
After an hour at the hotel, he came out and told the group that they should either go to the Brooklyn shelter or another men’s-only shelter located on 30th Street.
“Go sleep there,” a Venezuelan yelled at him.
Migrants described being threatened with knives, seeing multiple injections and fearing for their lives in their previous shelters.
The police held talks with the group and asked them to leave the place without immediate resolution of the problem.
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