Asylum seeker opens up about journey to NYC: Migrants in America

Asylum seekers in New York City are facing uncertainty as officials have started implementing restrictions. The humanitarian crisis is putting pressure on resources and now there is a real concern migrants could end up on the streets. 

We found him outside the Roosevelt Hotel, in the middle of the night, with his belongings on the sidewalk. The Roosevelt is the intake center for new arrivals, but it is also seeing those who have stayed in emergency shelters until the new city imposed cut off times. 

With resources at capacity, the city started imposing limitations on shelter stays. Initially, it was 60 days.  

Now, as the crisis continues, it is 30 days for singles and 60 days for families.

"The Roosevelt sent us to a shelter in Brooklyn, we stayed there for almost three months. They moved us in another shelter and made us sign a letter saying we would be kicked out in 60 days," he said.  

The reality of these restrictions is difficult for someone in his shoes. 

"I came to America, like everyone … an asylum seeker. The issues in my country… everything is terrible, "he said. 

He would only say that he is from a country in Africa. "I crossed the border by smuggling," he said. He left everybody behind, "to save myself from those monsters in my country," he said.

The illegal journey into the United States is difficult. The federal government has long documented that many die trying to do what he did. 

Humanitarians are concerned about migrants being added to New York City’s homeless population.  This man is worried too, as he and others like him start to contend with what being displaced truly feels like. 

In a recent statement to Fox 5 News a spokesperson for the mayor said: 

"New York City is far past its breaking point. For months, Mayor Adams has warned that without substantive help from our state and federal partners, this crisis could begin to play out on city streets."

Under federal law asylum seekers are protected from deportation but can’t legally work for six months. This man’s pockets are empty. 

"Looking for jobs under the table," he said. He described the uncertainty as, "extremely horrible, frankly speaking."

 But he still holds onto hope. 

For years, countless migrants and asylum seekers have made the dangerous and illegal journey into the United States. Now, in unprecedented numbers, they are seeking refuge in New York City. The situation has created a humanitarian crisis. In FOX 5 NY’s "Migrants In America: In Their Own Words," asylum seekers explain how the pursuit of the American dream has made uncertainty their reality.