Adams Claims Nearly Half of All NYC Hotel Rooms Now Filled by Migrants, but Numbers Don’t Quite Add Up
Michael Gartland, New York Daily News, May 17, 2023
In an effort to illustrate the severity of the migrant crisis in the city, Mayor Adams claimed Wednesday that nearly half of all hotel rooms in New York are now occupied by migrants seeking asylum — an assertion that was immediately pounced on as being inaccurate.
Adams has come under fire on several fronts in recent days for his administration’s latest attempts to find housing for the more than 60,000 migrants who have come to the city since last year.
Republicans north of the city have slammed him for directing migrants to hotels in Rockland and Orange counties. Parents have attacked him for placing them in public school gymnasiums. And civil rights groups criticized him Wednesday for considering Rikers Island as an option to house asylum seekers.
Adams offered a response to those criticisms Wednesday by underscoring the severity of the crisis — but it appeared to backfire within a matter of hours.
“In order to address an onslaught, you have to have places you can put people,” the mayor said during an unrelated news conference in Harlem. “Almost half of all hotel rooms now are taken up by asylum seekers. Think about that. I’m not sure what it’s going to take before people hear what I am saying.
“New York City is the hotel capital. We’re the hotel capital — tourism, visitors, sporting events, graduations,” he continued. “It’s a major economic engine for us. Almost 50% of those hotel rooms are being taken up by migrant asylum seekers.”
In a further attempt to illustrate the severity of the situation, Adams said Wednesday that the federal government should declare the city’s migrant situation a formal state of emergency and said the city’s $4.3 billion cost projection doesn’t include a loss of revenue connected to the fact that instead of lodging tourists who tend to spend money on amenities, many hotels have adjusted to function primarily as homeless shelters bankrolled by the city.