A New York jail which was shuttered following Jeffrey Epstein’s death, the Manhattan Correctional Center, may wind up housing illegal immigrants.
A proposal mentioned in an Aug. 9 letter to Gov. Kathy Hochul aims to mitigate the impact of some 100,000 migrants estimated to have arrived in the city since last year after crossing the southern US border, AP reports.
Under NYC rules, officials are legally obligated to obtain shelter for anyone needing it. And with homeless shelters packed to the brim, NYC Mayor Eric Adams (D) has been renting out hotels, shoving cots in recreational centers and school gyms, and creating official tent cities.
The letter, written by a senior counsel for the city’s law department, identifies several other sites in which migrants could potentially be housed, including the defunct Metropolitan Correctional Center, which closed in 2021.
That shutdown came after the detention center, whose prisoners have included Mafia don John Gotti, associates of Osama bin Laden and the Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, came under new scrutiny because of squalid conditions and security lapses exposed following Epstein’s death. -AP
According to the report, lawyers have described the jail as ‘filthy’ and infested with bugs and rodents, as well as plagued by water and sewage leaks which caused structural issues.
Pro-immigrant groups have denounced the plan.
“Mayor Adams likes to say that all options are on the table when it comes to housing asylum seekers, but certain places should most definitely be off the table,” said Murad Awawdeh, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, adding: “The Metropolitan Correctional Center was a notoriously decrepit jail, and is not a suitable place to support people trying to build a new life in a new country.”
Meanwhile, hundreds of NY residents recently turned out to protest against a proposal to turn a former assisted living facility on Staten Island into a migrant shelter.
While New York State has been accused of being slow to respond to the immigrants, a Hochul attorney pushed back, rejecting allegations that the state failed to deal with the migrant influx in a substantial way.
“The City has not made timely requests for regulatory changes, has not always promptly shared necessary information with the State, has not implemented programs in a timely manner, and has not consulted the State before taking certain actions,” reads the letter.