48 Hours on the Border

What happens in the first 48 hours after migrants arrive in the US?

Texas has sent buses full of migrants to Democrat-run cities like Washington, Chicago, Denver and New York City to highlight the border crisis.

What happens in the first 48 hours after migrants arrive in the US?
Migrants arriving in New York City.
Scripps News
SMS

For almost two years, New York City has received a massive influx of migrants as hundreds of asylum seekers continue to arrive each day, and the mayor has said the city's resources are collapsing.

The Roosevelt Hotel in midtown Manhattan is one of the first places migrants see when they enter New York City. City officials have established the hotel as the main intake center where asylum seekers are checked in and processed before heading to one of the many shelters around the city, including Randall's Island, which has one of the largest shelters in the area.

A group of migrants was waiting a mile away from the hotel, hoping for volunteers at a church in Manhattan to call their number and assist them. Many of them, like Venezuelan Ananias Mendoza, needed to start their asylum processes.

“I left Venezuela because of hunger. It was hard because there were days when we didn't have anything to eat; no money to buy shoes,” said Mendoza.

The stories are almost the same for every migrant leaving their home country due to a lack of resources and jobs, or because of violence.

City officials say at least 180,000 asylum seekers have arrived in the Big Apple since April 2022, and about 65,000 remain in the city's care — a number propelled by the governors of Texas and Arizona. Both states have been sending charter buses full of migrants to Democrat-run cities like Washington, Chicago, Denver, and New York to highlight the migrant crisis at the border.

"Texas is stepping up and doing what the federal government is supposed to do,” said Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. 

This is what life is like in a border city
This is what life is like in a border city

This is what life is like in a border city

People who live in Douglas, Arizona, have a unique perspective as the country deals with an influx of migrants crossing into the U.S. from Mexico.

LEARN MORE

Immigration activist Power Malu has been on the front lines, and told Scripps News that “this administration has been causing fabricated chaos."

Malu explained that when a migrant is dropped off in New Jersey, “someone pays for their ticket to come to New York City. They arrive at Penn Station. At Penn Station, we're there to greet them, welcome them, and then we take them to the arrival center, which is the Roosevelt Hotel.”

At the Roosevelt Hotel, which serves as both the city's main intake center and shelter for families, the new arrivals wait in line in hopes of getting a space in the city's shelter system, including the tents built on Randall's Island, about three miles from Upper Manhattan and housing some 3,000 migrants.

“They get our information so that we can follow up with them and help them with lawyers, with food, with clothing, with all the processes that they need in order to become self-sufficient,” explained Malu. 

Twenty-four-year-old Brandon Gil is from Venezuela. He started his asylum-seeking process with the help he received from the organization, and now he volunteers and helps other migrants.

“I feel like part of this family. That's what made me want to help other migrants who came here the same way I did,” said Gil. 

Gil arrived in New York in June 2022. He now has his work permit, has found a job at a fast-food restaurant, and pays for a room in an apartment with roommates.

“Having a work permit is a step forward in this country,” said Gil. 

Gil is receiving free classes at the public library. He dreams of legalizing his status and finishing his graphic design career, which he couldn't complete in Venezuela.

Meanwhile, Mendoza said she hopes to get out of the shelter system soon. She was told her family qualifies for an apartment, and told Scripps News she came to this country “to make a life here, to give my children a better education, so that they thrive as human beings.”