For an extended period, Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) has been transporting numerous undocumented immigrants to New York City. After the Border Patrol releases them from detention, the governor facilitates their transportation to cities and states that have been identified as sanctuaries. As a result, New York City has reached its capacity in shelters, leading officials to consider utilizing a notorious prison to accommodate incoming groups of migrants.
In recent times, officials from the city have conducted a visit to Rikers Island, exploring the possibility of utilizing the infamous prison as a potential location to house undocumented immigrants. Approximately half of the contracted hotel rooms in the city are already occupied, and Governor Abbott appears determined to persist with the relocation initiative.
NYC Mayor Eric Adams (D) defends not ruling out sheltering migrants at Rikers Island, the jail facility plagued by safety problems and inhumane conditions:— The Recount (@therecount) May 17, 2023
“You tell me where we should go, then … The worst optic we could have is for a family to sleep on our streets.” pic.twitter.com/S4xLe2a6RF
According to an undisclosed source cited by the New York Post, Rikers Island is being considered as a “last-resort option” for accommodating the migrants. Mayor Eric Adams (D) has expressed support for this possibility, arguing that it would be even more detrimental if the immigrants were left without shelter and forced to sleep on the streets.
Presently, the situation is not as severe as previously described. An alternative strategy has emerged, which involves sending approximately 100 migrants to SUNY Sullivan, a college campus. SUNY Oswego and SUNY Geneseo are also under consideration for this purpose. However, not everyone supports this plan.
Representative Claudia Tenney (R-NY) criticized the decision to send migrants to college campuses, considering it a misguided choice. She raised concerns about the lack of health screenings, vetting procedures, and other crucial information, stating that officials have no comprehensive understanding of the true identities and backgrounds of these migrants.
Rikers Island has housed infamous criminals throughout history, including well-known figures such as David Berkowitz, also known as the Son of Sam serial killer, Mark David Chapman, the killer of John Lennon, as well as renowned rappers Tupac Shakur and DMX. Additionally, numerous mobsters have been incarcerated there. Over the years, the facility has faced numerous complaints and issues.
During his tenure as Mayor, Bill de Blasio made the decision to close down Rikers Island. Although Mayor Eric Adams supports this plan, its implementation is not expected until 2027. This extended timeline provides officials with ample time to consider utilizing the facility to house migrants if the need arises.