According to The Post, on Sunday, many Venezuelan migrants in New York City boarded vans to Florida to assist with the aftermath of Hurricane Ian. According to witnesses, migrants lined up at Junction Boulevard and 32nd Avenue at 8:00 a.m. to catch the vans to Florida.
“They want us for hurricane cleanup, we’d get paid $15 an hour, overtime and $15 for food daily, I think,” a Venezuelan migrant told The Post, adding that a woman named Camila “from an organization” approached him with a flyer.
The migrants had scant information about their future employers, but they still boarded vans in Queens claiming to be bound for the Sunshine State over the weekend.
A Venezuelan asylum seeker reported that approximately 100 men left the Manhattan shelter on 30th Street to take advantage of the employment opportunity.
A 38-year-old migrant stated, “I came back to the shelter one night to find that people were leaving in vans.”
The driver of one of the vans at the designated pick-up location, a Corona intersection, told The Post on Saturday that he is going to Florida. He claimed to be employed by a water and debris company. The firm did not answer the phone despite The Post’s repeated attempts.
“I’m taking these people in the van straight to Florida tonight,” said the driver. “I don’t know how many people have left or how many more vans are coming.”
The migrants left city shelters in droves to catch a ride and find work in the south. One migrant woman said she learned about the vans and potential jobs through group chats.
“I’m going for the work. It’s been hard for us migrants to find work here in New York, that’s why a lot of us are going.”
As a protest against President Biden’s dangerously lax immigration policies, Texas officials have been sending thousands of migrants who illegally cross the border before seeking asylum to Democratic cities like New York.
A Venezuelan migrant said, “They are telling us that are we going to work. We have contact with a lady who is taking us to Florida. We are going to work as contractors on the disaster.”
Another migrant said he was unaware of the offer but would like to take advantage of it “because it’s difficult to get papers to work here.”
Joseph Venuto, a 55-year-old Corona resident, observed people departing from the intersection and assumed the Federal Emergency Management Agency was behind the effort.
A FEMA representative informed The Post on Sunday that the organization is not involved.
A spokesperson for Mayor Adams stated that City Hall did not transport any migrants. Florida officials refused to respond to requests for comment.