Mayor Adams questions if migrants camped outside NYC hotel are actually migrants: ‘I’m not even sure they are’


Mayor Adams suggested Wednesday that dozens of mostly Latin American men sleeping outside a Manhattan hotel may not actually be migrants, drawing ire from a representative of the group who accused the mayor of lying.

In his first public comments on the matter since migrants set up camp in front of the Watson Hotel on W. 57th St. last weekend, Adams told reporters that, by his count, only a few people remain in the sidewalk encampment.

“From my analysis, about 30 are still there, and I’m not even sure they are migrants,” he said at City Hall. “There are some agitators that I just really think are doing a disservice to the migrants, and doing a disservice to the children and families that are moving into the hotels.”

Adams did not elaborate on what makes him think the individuals aren’t migrants.

After the news conference, Adams spokesman Fabien Levy claimed the mayor was only “talking about the activists” who have donated food, tents and other supplies to the migrants camping out in front of the Watson.

“Everyone is lumping together the whole group [outside the hotel] as asylum seekers,” Levy said.

Ariadna Phillips, founder of the South Bronx Mutual Aid group whose members have been posted outside the hotel since last weekend, said that as of Wednesday morning, there were more like 50 migrants still camping in front of the Watson, in addition to various activists and advocates on site.

Adams’ comments infuriated Anthony Hernandez, a Venezuelan migrant who has been sleeping outside the Watson for several nights.

“That’s a lie! Obviously we are here,” Hernandez told the Daily News. “There are like 40 of us.”

[ Migrants set up camp on NYC sidewalk after refusing beds at Mayor Adams’ ‘inhumane’ mega shelter in Brooklyn ]

Hernandez and hundreds of other single adult male asylum seekers lived at the Watson for weeks, and in some cases months. Adams’ administration started moving them out of their rooms last weekend in order to accommodate migrant families with children at the hotel instead.

The administration offered to move the ejected single migrant males to a new mega-shelter in a Brooklyn Cruise Terminal warehouse on the Red Hook waterfront.

But many of them refused, saying that conditions at the warehouse are “inhumane.” Instead, they set up camp outside the hotel in protest on Sunday, and many of them have been there since.

Adams downplayed the severity of the situation at his City Hall news conference.

“It’s not a standoff,” he said. “We had over 1,000 people who were in the hotel. The overwhelming number of them moved.”


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