By: Sam Doak
May 12 2023
This option was included in a memo that lists potential measures that have not yet been decided.
On May 11, 2023, Title 42 – a policy enacted by the Trump administration using emergency powers granted by the Public Health Act, allowing officials to expel migrants intercepted at American borders under expedited procedures – expired. During the 2021-2022 fiscal year, more than two million people were removed from the United States under Title 42, which the Trump and Biden administrations justified on public health grounds.
In the weeks leading up to the expiration of Title 42, officials have signaled that they expect to see a sharp increase in the number of border crossings into the U.S. Given the highly polarized nature of debates concerning migration in the United States, this has caused a considerable amount of debate in the country. One narrative that has gained particular traction in this context is that the city of New York is planning to house migrants on temporary sites in Central Park.
An episode of Clayton Morris' Redacted, a fringe current affairs podcast that has previously shared conspiracy theories and false information in the past, told viewers, “New York is saying ‘yes, send all your migrants here, we’ll turn Central Park into a tent city,’ so that this entire green space in the middle of your screen will be filled with tents.” Commenting further, Morris said, “this is what the mayor of New York City is saying today…” Morris and his guest proceeded to speculate on how this could lead to the pollution of the Park’s lakes.
Despite the concerns raised by Morris and his guest, there are currently no concrete plans to house migrants in Central Park.
Concerns that migrants are to be housed in Central Park stem from an internal briefing memo produced by New York officials. First obtained and reported on by CNN, the memo outlines a number of possible options that could be considered should New York experience a surge of new arrivals following the expiration of Title 42.
According to CNN, this memo outlined possible contingency measures including “tents in Central Park, a retrofitted airplane hangar at John F. Kennedy Airport, and building temporary tiny homes.”
While the options listed in this document are likely to cause concern, they are not concrete plans at present. Instead, they represent a range of options that officials may consider should the city struggle to house migrants. On this, CNN stated in its reporting, “The document details a series of potential options the Adams administration is exploring that are not yet finalized, the sources explained to CNN.”
New York City is not currently planning on housing migrants in Central Park. This measure was included in a list of options that are being explored by officials, and currently, there are no plans to implement it. This claim has therefore been marked as misleading.