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New York City discovers migrants being housed illegally in furniture store

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(NEW YORK) — New York City officials have vacated a Bronx furniture store that was converted to house dozens of migrants in “unsafe living conditions,” according to the New York City Department of Buildings.

The vacate order was issued over “hazardous life-threatening conditions, lack of natural light and ventilation, and severe overcrowding,” according to the DOB.

At least 10 people were transported from the store on Wednesday just days after dozens of migrants were found in a Queens furniture store run by the same person, according to the DOB.

There were 74 migrants located at the store in Queens, most from west Africa, when that location was inspected Monday night.

Others may have relocated on their own or scattered when authorities arrived on the scene, according to the city. The city left up signs on how to get services on the shuttered storefront gate in case more migrants arrived later at night.

Inspectors were called to a two-story commercial building in the Bronx to investigate an “illegal conversion” when they found the store had been illegally converted into sleeping quarters with 45 beds packed tightly across the first floor and cellar, the DOB said.

E-bikes, extension cords, space heaters and hot plates were found throughout the building, the DOB said.

The mayor’s chief of staff, Camille Joseph Varlack, said the city became aware of the store when complaints were filed.

“We went in and found individuals that were living in unsafe conditions. As we would with any New Yorker that we find living in an unsafe condition, we immediately vacated those locations and referred those individuals to additional resources,” Varlack said.

New York City has been faced with a crisis over housing and feeding migrants that have been bused to the city from the southern border by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott as part of his Operation Lone Star plan. There have been 37,900 migrants sent to New York City since August 2022, as of Feb. 16, according to the Texas governor’s office.

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