New York, NY—Today, the New York Daily News reported that New York City officials are seriously considering a plan to house newly arriving asylum seekers in a now-shuttered Rikers Island jail.
Murad Awawdeh, Executive Director, New York Immigration Coalition:
“Rikers Island has a long track record of causing nothing but pain, suffering and death to those that have been forced to reside there. It is a stain on our city. We have joined the countless numbers of advocates and organizations who have called for it to be permanently shuttered, which makes this news even more alarming. Housing asylum seekers – who are pursuing their legal right to apply for asylum – on Rikers is simply immoral. The traumatizing effect of doing so, after people have fled violence and persecution in their home countries, will cause more injury to families who are already struggling. Asylum seekers and the rest of the unhoused population of NYC need permanent housing – they do not belong in jails. The Adams administration must partner with local community-based organizations and every level of government to develop a humane approach to receive our newest neighbors in a safe, orderly, and secure manner. Together, communities across New York State can create a welcoming New York for all, no matter when people arrived or how they got here.”