Editorial: Seeing for ourselves: Press should be allowed access to migrant shelter facility

  • In Business
  • 2023-02-03 09:00:00Z
  • By NY Daily News

As the federal government has kept sitting on its hands in response to asylum seekers' immense needs, cities including New York have had to continue stepping up to provide basic humanitarian aid.

Most fraught has been housing thousands of people who have little in the way of existing community and social supports and who for months can't work legally in the country, leading the Adams administration to find creative yet occasionally questionable solutions like massive tent encampments for migrants. The latest facility is at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in Red Hook, where men staying at the Watson Hotel makeshift shelter were supposed to be transferred this week.

Many of those who went have now left and tried to return to the hotel, citing lack of heat, privacy, security of belongings, and other concerns with the new facility. These are ultimately questions that could be resolved rather straightforwardly by reporters visiting the site and confirming whether or not any of the qualms are legit.

Yet reporters and elected officials have been blocked from entry, with guards keeping the public's eyes and ears at bay a good distance away, a move not well known to get reporters to back off. The administration contends that press visits can't be allowed due to privacy constraints. Yes, state law says that the confidentiality of all people receiving public assistance or social services shall be maintained, but an easy solution is just escorting the press in and forbidding photos of people's faces and no surnames allowed in interviews.

Members of the press visit prisons, hospitals, schools and other areas where vulnerable people expect some degree of privacy, and this is accomplished through agreed-upon ground rules that the media is happy to abide by, such as we did with the Randalls Island tent complex that served as a sort of precursor to this facility. Officials should know by now that "trust us" is not an acceptable answer. If these claims are all bad-faith fanning of flames, as the administration contends, that should be easy enough to disprove.



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  • T Birds Jacket
    (2023-02-03 10:38:55Z)

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