Press Statements

Unacceptable: VOCAL-NY Condemns Adams’ Plan to Funnel Asylum-Seekers Into Rikers

May 18, 2023

CONTACT: Mariah McGough, 


NEW YORK — In response to the Adams’ Administration considering housing asylum-seekers on Rikers Island, VOCAL-NY released the following statement, attributable to Eileen Maher, a leader with VOCAL-NY’s Civil Rights Union who was formerly detained on Rikers:

“Rikers Island is a problem, not a solution. The fact that the Mayor and his administration is even considering this lets me know that he is not serious about public safety or the city’s sanctuary status. This plan would expose migrants to the corruption, violence, and harm that is synonymous with Rikers Island while severely limiting their ability to travel on and off the Island. 

Cutting migrants off from resources and support and handing them over to jail facilities is not safety. This is just another attempt from Adams to use the carceral system to disappear people and it’s unacceptable. Rikers must be ‘off the table.’”


Mayor Adams and his administration are scrambling to house the influx of asylum seekers coming to New York City, and are putting people in harm’s way in the process. New York City is experiencing the worst housing crisis since the Great Depression. The decision to house asylum-seekers – and all New Yorkers – in anything short of stable, accessible, and affordable housing is a policy failure that will have lasting consequences. 


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