Illegal scooters or economic lifeline? How NYC’s crackdown affects migrant workers
In the busy streets of New York, a silent battle is ongoing—the fight for survival and the law. NYC’s scooter crackdown is prevalent, with illegal scooters and some vehicles impounded on the Upper West Side. The most affected? The migrants.
The New York Place Department (NYPD) recently took action against the growing numbers of illegal scooters roaming around the city. The crackdown, which happened on Broadway of West 71st, had impounded not only scooters but also motorcycles and bicycles.
One migrant woman even ended up in cuffs after allegedly slapping an NYPD officer during the scooter confiscation. The most recent incident of scooter crackdown happened at Stratford Arms Hotel, now a migrant shelter.
As one migrant said in an interview with Fox5, “They need it for their family, no one is going to have a motorcycle just sitting there.” But it’s not just this incident; the NYPD has their hands full dealing with an unregistered motorbike parade outside the Roosevelt Hotel too, another migrant home in Midtown.
The NYPD @NYCMayor is doing their job no one should be allowed to ride illegal scooters in NYC not US citizens and not immigrants seeking asylum. Too many accidents recently keep nyc roadways safe. The laws apply to everyone citizen and immigrant alike.https://t.co/V6d950SoEb
— Ultra Hero (@UltraHero2099) September 3, 2023
What the state law states
Although the NYC law states that electric scooters or bicycles with electric assist can operate on some streets and highways in NYC, there’s a list of vehicles that cannot register or operate on any street or highway. They are as follows:
- Off-road motorcycle (dirt bike)
- Golf Kart
- KEI-Class Vehicles
- Migrants on the move
So, why are these scooters so vital for the migrants? As one migrant says, “Because we’re immigrants, we don’t have many options.”
For them, having a scooter is the easiest way to earn a living, especially in the food delivery scene. No license is required, just the capability to roam around the streets in the city.
Without papers or permits to work, many migrants rely on food delivery work to help provide for their families. https://t.co/KNLUxdcnec
— Fox5NY (@fox5ny) September 4, 2023
While some Upper West Side residents are in favor of the crackdown, others express other concerns. “They’re here, there, everywhere, and I am so terrified that one day I’m going to get hurt,” says a worried resident in an interview.
The influx of migrants, all seeking a piece of their American dream, has now led to what a resident called “the Skid Row of the neighborhood,” as the resident said, “They had to put a flood like there because they just congregate.”
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These challenges are real and seem like they are not going away anytime soon. Mayor Eric Adams, the City Council, and Governor Hochul are all pushing the federal government to grant work permits for migrants.
They said that although there are thousands of jobs waiting to be filled, more migrants are poring into New York every day. Thus, potentially increasing the reliance on these illegal scooters to make ends meet.
A concerned Upper West Side resident said, “There’s not enough resources for all the people that are coming in.”
In this complex narrative of NYC’s scooter crackdown, the road ahead for migrants remains uncertain, but the quest for a solution offers a glimpse of hope.