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NYC Health + Hospitals Celebrates One-Year Anniversary of the Arrival Center for Newly Arriving Asylum Seekers

Arrival Center staff have received and provided medical, social, and resettlement services to nearly 150,000 people from over 160 countries since the facility first opened its doors in May 2023

May 22, 2024

New York City's Arrival Center has received and provided medical, social, and resettlement services to nearly 150,000 people from over 160 countries since the facility first opened its doors in May 2023.

NYC Health + Hospitals today announced the one-year anniversary of New York City’s Arrival Center, the city’s comprehensive, one-stop intake facility for newly arriving asylum seekers. The Arrival Center fulfills a core commitment of Mayor Adams’ “Blueprint to Address New York City’s Response to the Asylum Seeker Crisis” and successfully addresses three significant challenges of the crisis — providing immediate medical screenings and healthcare for all new arrivals, coordinated reconnections for people whose intended destination is not New York City, and case management services to help asylum seekers complete their journeys quickly, including same day referrals for legal assistance. Since the Arrival Center first opened its doors last May 19, staff have registered and provided care to nearly 150,000 people from over 160 countries, expediting access to streamlined, responsive services for asylum seekers moments after they arrive in New York City. NYC Health + Hospitals, the largest municipal health system in the country, manages the Arrival Center in addition to 13 Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Centers (HERRCs).

“New York City has managed the hell out of the migrant crisis, and that is thanks, in no small part, to the incredible work of the dedicated public servants at our Arrival Center at the Roosevelt Hotel,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “The Arrival Center has allowed us to provide compassionate, swift, and orderly care to migrants, many of whom have come to our city through unimaginable traumas in search of the American Dream. We’re doing our part — now, we need the federal government to finish the job they started by delivering long-overdue immigration reform, allowing migrants to work, helping connect migrants to parts of the country desperate for skilled labor, and reimbursing cities like New York for the investments we’ve made in managing this national crisis.”

“Since the Spring of 2022, we have had nearly 200,000 people come to New York City seeking asylum,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom. “Roughly 75% of those people have been served by our Arrival Center, offering a range of supportive services and navigation assistance. Some have referred to the Arrival Center as a modern-day Ellis Island, where individuals and families come to start their journey in New York City, a path rooted in the histories of so many before them. We are deeply proud of the way our teams across government have responded to this global humanitarian crisis, but we know we will need more sustained support from the national government. Thank you to our tireless teams for reaching this milestone and for setting a standard of excellence as we do our part.”

“New York City’s Arrival Center has been a cornerstone of our response to a complex and unprecedented national humanitarian crisis, serving as a new Ellis Island that builds upon our city’s immigrant heritage to provide compassionate healthcare and effective services that help new arrivals find their footing,” said Ted Long, MD, MHS, Senior Vice President, Ambulatory Care and Population Health, NYC Health + Hospitals. “In New York City, we believe that healthcare is a human right, and every day we work to uphold that right for hundreds of people in desperate need. The streamlined, comprehensive services provided at the Arrival Center have helped change nearly 150,000 peoples’ lives and offers a model for other cities. I am so proud to work alongside my team who have moved heaven and earth to meet the demands of this historic moment and help asylum seekers start a better life in our country.”

“As we continue to wait for the federal government to act on comprehensive immigration reform, New York City is proud to be the first city in the nation to establish an Arrival Center providing comprehensive, dignified services — what we call the modern-day Ellis Island,”said Manuel Castro, Commissioner for the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA). “The leadership and teams of NYC Health + Hospitals and several other sister agencies have met the most immediate and dire needs, paving the way for thousands of new arrivals to start their American Dream. While this is a tremendous milestone, we continue to call on the federal government for additional support and immediate work authorizations for newly arrived asylum seekers.”

“I applaud NYC Health + Hospitals’ staff for their diligent and unprecedented work in overseeing a pivotal step for many asylum seekers on their journey to establishing a new life,”said Office of Asylum Seeker Operations Director Molly Schaeffer. “Over the last year, NYC Health + Hospitals and the Arrival Center staff have assisted nearly 150,000 people with resources, including shelter, reconnecting families, and urgent medical needs. The City of New York continues to lead, and we are proud of the assistance we provide new arrivals while we continue to advocate for a robust and unified response across the country.”

New York City’s Arrival Center, based in the Roosevelt Hotel in Midtown Manhattan and run by NYC Health + Hospitals, first opened its doors to newly arriving asylum seekers on May 19, 2023. Since then, the facility’s staff have registered and provided care to nearly 150,000 people from over 160 countries while operating without interruption 24 hours a day, every day of the year. In coordination with officials at NYC Emergency Management (NYCEM), the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA), and Port Authority Bus Terminal (PABT), the Arrival Center has, to date, received approximately 32,000 people on at least 800 chartered buses and 7 planes sent to New York City. Over the last year of operations, the volume of asylum seekers registered at the Arrival Center was approximately 2,800 per week, reaching a weekly high of 4,400 in the last week of September 2023. Over a quarter of asylum seekers registered at the Arrival Center are children under the age of 18.

The Arrival Center’s case management teams evaluate asylum seekers’ information so they can offer informed, impactful assistance.

Since the Arrival Center opened, it has served as the first point of contact for all newly arriving asylum seekers. At the facility, asylum seekers are met with a dignified welcome and provided food, water, bathrooms, luggage storage, and hygienical products, allowing adults and families with children to rest and get settled after what for many has been a long and difficult journey to New York City. The Arrival Center’s case management teams evaluate asylum seekers’ information — including their legal documents, the status of their applications for asylum, work authorization, and temporary protected status, employment history, and education — so that they can offer informed, impactful assistance. Coordinating this information for all new arrivals allows New York City to provide effective support specific to each person’s circumstances, including referrals to legal services available at the city’s Asylum Application Help Center, which has completed over 50,000 applications for asylum, work authorization, and temporary protected status since it opened in June 2023.

To address asylum seekers’ healthcare needs, the Arrival Center provides immediate medical screenings, urgent care, behavioral health screenings and care, and vaccinations. First, clinicians perform screenings for communicable diseases, including active tuberculosis and COVID-19, and for rashes symptomatic of measles and varicella (chickenpox). Then, clinicians provide urgent care for common medical conditions — coughing, congestion, fever, abdominal pain, headaches, nausea, and wounds —  and dispense common medications and prescriptions as needed. Staff also regularly provide initial care for late-term pregnancies and chronic disease management, and can refer asylum seekers to NYC Health + Hospitals’ facilities to receive more intensive care. In particular, NYC Health + Hospitals has established a pathway to connect women to care at NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue, which, in addition to our other facilities, has helped over 700 asylum seekers receive prenatal care and give birth to healthy babies, and provides access to post-partum and child care.

Clinical staff at the Arrival Center provide immediate medical screenings, urgent care, behavioral health screenings and care, and vaccinations.

Following the medical screening, all asylum seekers ages 12 and above, many of whom have experienced trauma during their journey, are screened for depression. If someone shows symptoms of depression on the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ) screening, they will receive a warm handoff to a social worker onsite who can perform an evaluation and make referrals to mental health clinics. To date, Arrival Center staff have administered over 130,000 screenings for depression.

Finally, clinicians offer vaccinations for measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), varicella, and COVID-19. To date, staff at the Arrival Center and NYC Health + Hospitals’ Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Centers (HERRCs) have administered over 70,000 vaccinations. The majority of those vaccinations have been given to children, many of whom are applying for eligibility to New York City public schools.   After asylum seekers complete medical intake,case managers meet with them to discuss their journey, connect them to resources in the city, such as health care, legal support, child care, as well as discuss reconnections to their desired destination. This initial conversation at the Arrival Center informs subsequent case management meetings provided at asylum seekers’ shelter placements during which case managers gauge where new arrivals are in their immigration journey, identify their barriers to leaving the city shelter system, and create tailored service plans so guests can exit the city’s shelter systems in a self-sufficient manner.

If asylum seekers request temporary shelter in New York City, Arrival Center placement teams will determine where space is available in the city shelter system and assign a temporary shelter placement. There are currently over 210 shelter sites and city humanitarian centers housing approximately 65,000 asylum seekers.

Additional city services offered at the Arrival Center include New York City Public Schools school enrollment, Fair Fares enrollment, IDNYC enrollment, health insurance enrollment, mental health counseling, Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) consultations, NYC Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) services, NYC Children consultations, and various services offered by community-based organizations.

Since the asylum seeker humanitarian crisis began in Spring 2022, New York City has — largely on its own — taken fast and urgent action, managing the arrival of at least 800 buses to New York City with virtually no coordination from the states sending them, opening over 210 sites as emergency shelters to care for the nearly 200,000 asylum seekers who have arrived in New York City, creating the city’s Asylum Application Help Center to help asylum seekers complete their applications for asylum, work authorization, and temporary protected status, and enrolling thousands of children in New York City public schools.


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About NYC Health + Hospitals
NYC Health + Hospitals is the largest municipal health care system in the nation serving more than a million New Yorkers annually in more than 70 patient care locations across the city’s five boroughs. A robust network of outpatient, neighborhood-based primary and specialty care centers anchors care coordination with the system’s trauma centers, nursing homes, post-acute care centers, home care agency, and MetroPlus health plan—all supported by 11 essential hospitals. Its diverse workforce of more than 43,000 employees is uniquely focused on empowering New Yorkers, without exception, to live the healthiest life possible. For more information, visit www.nychealthandhospitals.org and stay connected on FacebookTwitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.