New York Welcomes Venezuelan Asylum Seekers with Open Arms, Promises Jobs and Hope


Jean Carlos Marin-Espinoza radiates a smile that rivals the sparkling lights that illuminate the city of New York. Standing at a street corner in bustling midtown Manhattan, Marin-Espinosa recounts the acts of generosity bestowed upon him and his family – a cozy hotel room, plentiful food, and fresh clothes.

Marin-Espinoza and his wife sought refuge from the deep-seated impoverishment, rampant violence, and soaring crime rates under the oppressive reign of President Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela. The couple hungered for peace and freedom, a desire satiated by their newfound safety.

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However, as memories of their arduous journey cast a shadow over their joy, Marin-Espinoza’s jubilant smile fades. Bitter-sweetly, he murmurs, “You have to smile so you don’t cry. Because if you do, the despair can become overwhelming.”

This summer, New York City has become a temporary home to thousands of asylum seekers from across the globe. Their presence, palpable in the city’s streets and corners, has strained local resources and serves as a stark reminder of the humanitarian crisis brewing miles away at the southern border. Whether relocated from Texas or having arrived of their own accord, New York City greets all with open arms, as per a local mandate promising shelter for all.

Marin-Espinoza and his family are a testament to this promise, having been granted a room at the distinguished Roosevelt Hotel. The city’s aid has not only filled their hungry stomachs but has also replenished their wardrobes, replacing all the belongings they tragically lost while crossing the formidable Rio Grande. The comforting king-size bed, the television set, and the soothing air conditioning they now indulge in stand in stark contrast to their difficult journey to the United States. Although still slender, Marin-Espinoza notes a positive physical change thanks to the regular meals; he comments, “Here, with the food that they’ve given me, I’ve fattened up a bit. Before, I was very skinny.”

Despite their current comforts, Marin-Espinoza’s biggest dream is to find employment. A decent job would enable him to provide for his family independently. Donned in a donated ball cap and a proud “I’m an NYC Vax Champ” t-shirt, he expresses his desires, “It’s good but what I want the most is a job. With your own job, you can make your own money.”

Speaking of jobs and money, it’s fascinating how people try different means to get by, even win some easy cash. This is wonderfully illustrated by the growing popularity of online casinos in Canada. Just as our fellow immigrants are adapting to a new way of life, many Canadians are exploring paths less treaded for leisure and some extra income. We at the West Island Blog have curated a list of top online casinos for the month, which allow you to dive into the enthralling world of online gaming right from the comfort of your home.

The Ellis Island of today, the Roosevelt Hotel, once a dazzling example of the city’s prosperity, stands as a symbol of solace and refuge. With a constant influx of migrants seeking asylum, the hotel is steadily repurposing itself to serve the city in its hour of need.

In the Roosevelt’s multicultural milieu, an interesting shift in meal preferences emerged due to a high influx of Muslim families. To respect their dietary rules, halal food is now the norm. Interestingly, Italian food has captured the hearts of many, while the roast beef sandwiches were a flop.

Marin-Espinoza and his family are a step closer to buying and cooking their own food, thanks to the Biden administration’s recent decision to allow Venezuelans who arrived before July 31 to obtain work permits. Cradling his new shelter address in Queens, New York, and a Metro card, Marin-Espinoza looks forward to his first journey on the New York subway, as he navigates the latest chapter of his life.