Migrants get phones, health care and school supplies in NYC giveaway
Hundreds of migrants — at least some bused to the Big Apple by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott — lined up outside Lincoln Hospital in The Bronx yesterday to get health-care coverage, food and other items including school supplies and free phones.
Hundreds of migrants, including some bused to New York City by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, lined up outside a Bronx hospital Sunday — eager to get free healthcare coverage, food, school supplies and cellphones.
The event at Lincoln Hospital, organized by the city hospital system, was billed as a “resource and family fun day” for migrants and their children, many of whom have arrived in the city in droves in recent weeks.
“I am here today to get an ID and health insurance,” Venezuelan migrant Luis Quintana, who arrived in the city from Texas on Friday, told The Post.
The 48-year-old construction worker, who was staying at a men’s shelter in Midtown, said his journey from the Lone Star State was anything but comfortable.
“I’m feeling well now, but I wasn’t. I was uncomfortable on the bus. The bathroom on the bus was closed for several hours,” Quintana recalled.
“I came to New York to get away from the delinquency in Venezuela, cops in the streets, armed people. I want to work and progress.”
Another Venezuelan migrant, Veronica Prada, brought her four children, ages 2 to 9, looking for food and school supplies, including backpacks.
Migrant parents in line were also given library cards.
“Today, we came for benefits. We are looking for help from immigration, but we’re still waiting,” the 26-year-old mother said, adding that her husband was able to snag work for the day. “We want to find out about the legal status of residence and find help with food and school supplies.”
Medicaid provider MetroPlusHealth, which co-sponsored Sunday’s event, said it had been preparing for about 1,200 migrants, mostly children, to show up at the hospital.
Before the event even kicked off, about 300 migrants were already lining up down the block.
A MetroPlusHealth representative said it was offering at least temporary health-care coverage for the migrants at the event.
Migrant Adrian Medina, 32, who was at the gathering, said he was looking for work in the city after fleeing his native Venezuela.
“I came to New York about three days ago,” he told The Post through a translator. “I am a welder, and I am looking for work here.”
Medina said he arrived on a bus from Texas after a solo trek from his home country, which included six days of walking through the jungle.
“I’m feeling a little bit better now, but when I first arrived, I wasn’t good,” he said. “We did not sleep or eat well.”
Now living at Bellevue Men’s Shelter, Medina said he saw a
flyer for the hospital event. He was waiting in line for ice cream when he spoke to The Post.
A couple and their two children, also from Venezuela, were waiting patiently in line in the hope of getting legal assistance to help them stay in the US.
“We came here today looking for help from a lawyer for political asylum,” the mother, Sandy
Gonzalez, 36, told The Post. “We came to get help with immigration.”
Gonzalez said she had been staying at a shelter in Brooklyn since stepping off a plane from Texas in early July with her husband, Argenis Ramirez, 40, and their children.
At least some of the other migrants waiting in line Sunday had been transported to the Big Apple by Abbott as part of the Republican governor’s ongoing campaign to highlight President Biden’s border policies.
Migrants have been crossing the Mexico border into Texas illegally before saying they are seeking asylum, which allows them to legally stay in the US while their cases wind through the courts.
Abbott vowed earlier this month to make the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown, as well as Washington, DC, a dropoff spot for that migrants he is busing out of his state.
Some of the migrants waiting in line at the hospital Sunday had come straight from the bus terminal, an event official said.
City Hall estimates that more than 4,000 migrants have arrived in the city over the past few weeks.
The city’s Department of Homeless Services asked hotels on Friday to help find 5,000 rooms to house newcomers — on top of a previous request of 600.
Additional reporting by Tomas E. Gaston