NEW YORK, NY – FWD.us President Todd Schulte released the following statement today on reports that the Adams administration is considering sending people seeking asylum to Rikers Island:
“We are deeply troubled by Mayor Eric Adams’ comments that he is considering sending vulnerable individuals and families seeking asylum to Rikers’ Island, which the city has already been ordered to close.
“America is at its best when we ensure people seeking asylum can access the safe, orderly, and humane process they deserve. Rikers has a long, horrifying record of abuse and death; 19 people have died there in just the last year. The horrors of incarcerating people there fueled a broad campaign to close Rikers; today’s statements should be a stark reminder that it should have closed long ago.
“There are clear challenges that stem from people seeking asylum who don’t have housing with immediate family members. But it should be obvious that rather than jail them, we need a coordinated city and federal approach to deliver short-term housing, make sure people can access a timely work permit so they can support themselves, and then help them transition to more stable housing. This is not only the moral thing to do, but it will also help strengthen our communities and grow local economies. America can and should do this, and we deserve leaders who will actually build solutions.
“Jail is not a short-term or long-term housing policy.”