The downtown Manhattan jail has held some of the worst criminals in history, and is where Jeffrey Epstein infamously died. The facility was forced to shut its doors in 2021 following years of deterioration, with the Federal Bureau of Prisons deeming it unfit for human habitation.
According to the Associated Press, city officials sent a letter to New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) on August 9 proposing the former correctional facility, alongside a host of other buildings, as a potential shelter for migrants.
The letter did not reveal whether the city had contacted the FBP asking for permission to re-open the jail, and the agency later said in a statement that it could not comment on governmental correspondence.
Nonetheless, the FBP stated that, "MCC New York is closed, at least temporarily, and long-term plans for MCC New York have not been finalized."
The jail, which aside from Epstein once held Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman and mob boss John Gotti, was plagued with problems from its inception, and after just two years a judge declared it "unacceptably cramped and oppressive for most healthy inmates." In the decades since, it has fallen into disrepute, deemed too awful even for prisoners.
In a letter obtained by ABC7, New York Immigration Coalition's Murad Awawdeh decried the proposal. "Mayor Adams likes to say that all options are on the table when it comes to housing asylum seekers, but certain places should most definitely be off the table," he said. "The Metropolitan Correctional Center was a notoriously decrepit jail, and is not a suitable place to support people trying to build a new life in a new country."
Awawdeh is far from the only one putting pressure on Mayor Adams to get a handle on the situation. Residents and politicians alike have come after him for failing to do enough to ensure New Yorkers and migrants are treated properly.
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