Thousands of migrants have been bused to New York. This man is stepping in to help
New York City is struggling to accommodate the new arrivals of migrants. Faith groups are stepping in to help.
Who is he? Reverend Juan Carlos Ruiz is a pastor at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, and a community leader working to help many migrants and asylum seekers that have found themselves in New York City without a way to work, or with a long-term safety net.
What's the big deal? The need for help is only expected to go up; some estimates say that up to 50,000 migrants made their way to New York over the past year, sent from places like Texas and Florida.
Want to hear more from Rev. Ruiz? Listen to the NPR interview by clicking or tapping the play button at the top.
What are people saying?
Rev. Ruiz on what awaits people when they arrive to New York:
Unfortunately, they are coming into a housing system that has been overwhelmed. And so people are scrambling just to find some firm footing — you know, a dignified place to rest. What we see is that many people are disconnected, disoriented, misinformed. After traveling on foot for two months, three months, they need a place that they can feel secure.
On how his group helps:
We've been giving them out phones, metro cards, food — warm food. Many people complained that in the shelter system, or in the hotels that they've been placed, they don't have spaces to cook.
So, yes, we have the abuelitas, you know, the grandmothers in our communities basically cooking for them and being family to them. Anything that humanizes, because we have to remember this is a humanitarian crisis.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams in the city's recently released asylum seeker "blueprint:"
While our city may be the face of the asylum seeker crisis, it is not a crisis we can solve on our own. A comprehensive response from all levels of government — especially from our state and federal partners — is needed. But, as we have so often, cities will lead the way. Our city's practical and compassionate approach to the asylum seeker crisis will set the standard for how we welcome those fleeing violence and hardship. This plan provides a way forward – and will ultimately lead to greater opportunity for progress for the entire country.
So, what now?
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